Friday, August 18, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE: Central Oregon Fire Management Morning Update - August 18

Contact: (541) 316-7711

COIDC Morning Update, August 18

Redmond, OR – Firefighters continued to work on several fires burning in Central Oregon overnight. A Red Flag Warning for high temperatures, low relative humidity and afternoon winds is in effect until 10 p.m. this evening, challenging firefighters working on existing wildfires, as well as testing firefighters responding to any new starts. Fire officials would like to remind locals as well as visitors arriving for Monday’s eclipse that campfires and barbeques are not allowed due to the extreme fire danger.

Nena Springs – Yesterday afternoon winds pushed embers across the containment line on the Nena Springs Fire. The fire has now grown to approximately 46,000 acres and containment was adjusted down to 40 percent. Highway 3 to School Flats; Hwy 8 to Kah-Nee Ta Village; Webster Flat Road, and Culpus Bridge are closed to all traffic. The fire information number for the Nena Springs Fire is (541) 460-7525

The fire grew over Indian Head Canyon and through Charlie Canyon, then continued move a mile east past the Kah-Nee Ta Resort. Fire officials implemented the plan to protect guests at the resort by having them shelter in place at the resort, while firefighters used Route 8 to burn from the road. This successfully removed grass from around the Resort and kept the fire away from the area. While the Resort is still at a Level 3 evacuation, the immediate threat is gone. Visitors with reservations are able to go to Kah-Nee Ta Resort.

The fire continued to grow and jumped Hwy 3 at Fish Hatchery Grade last night. Firefighters’ priority was to keep the fire from crossing the Warm Springs River and to prevent it from burning structures. As of midnight Thursday, these objectives had been met.

The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal Red Team, commanded by Ian Yocum, was mobilized late Thursday night. Two task forces of engines from Marion and Multnomah Counties began working with the existing organization around midnight. Yamhill and Washington Counties engines and personnel arrived this morning. These task forces bring with them a total of 79 firefighters, 19 engines and four water tenders to assist with protecting structures and building upon the work firefighters have already completed.

Additional Evacuation Notices: Charley Canyon, Webster Flat Road, South Junction, Culpus Bridge, and Wolf Point Subdivision are now at a Level 3 Evacuation Notice.

Evacuation Center: The Red Cross established an evacuation center at the Warm Springs Community Center for residents that have been evacuated.

Milli Fire – Crews will continue their work in developing primary containment lines and developing alternate lines as backup. Yesterday evening crews tried to take advantage of more favorable conditions to conduct burn out operations as a tactic to strengthen containment lines. At the time of this release the fire acreage has not been updated yet, and remains at 4565. The fire continues to be 0% contained.

Today’s activities will focus on the north and east side of the fire that are closest to the threatened communities. Numerous spot fires are developing and crews are actively identifying them and containing them where possible. Depending on the terrain, crews are working off existing roadways to develop containment line, or are using heavy equipment like dozers to cut line through previously fire scarred areas.

Oregon State Fire Marshal Green Team IMT has arrived along with five task forces of engines to assist with structure protection. Today these units will be focusing on the communities of Crossroads and Edington. These resources were made available when Governor Kate Brown invoked the Conflagration Act. This action authorizes resources from across the state to respond and assist the greater Sisters community. Engine crews will be surveying the neighborhoods and providing assistance in strengthening defendable space around dwellings.

Smoke monitoring information is available at: Anyone concerned with the effects of smoke in the region or who has possible health concerns related to smoke can go to this site to see smoke monitoring data and get additional information.

For additional Milli Fire information call: 541-316-7711

Evacuations: For more information call 541-550-4888.
Level 2 - The subdivisions of Crossroads and Edgington, currently 440 homes
Level 1 - The subdivision of Tollgate, currently 218 homes,
Total: approximately 1500 residents affected.

Road Closures:
OR 242 from Sisters west to Hwy 126. For further information see

Whychus Fire – Located about eight miles northeast of Sisters, the Whychus Fire is currently 2030 acres and remains 90% contained. Crews will continue mopping up hotspots along the fire’s perimeter.

Belknap Fire – Firefighters will continue to create and improve fire line around the Belknap Fire. The fire is burning in the Mill Creek Wilderness on the Ochoco National Forest. As of the time of this release, the fire remains 50% contained and no change of acres has been reported.

A trail closure has been put in place by the Ochoco National Forest for trails within the Mill Creek Wilderness. The following trails are now closed to the public for one month, beginning August 14th, from today or until rescinded: Twin Pillars Trail #832; Wildcat Trail #833; and Belknap Trail #833A.

For more information, follow us at or on Twitter at @CentralORFire

For Central Oregon Fire Information, please call 541-316-7711.

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