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Fire crews worry about stronger southwest winds due tonight

Published on August 28, 2015 10:02AM

Canyon Creek Complex fire crews are worried about stronger southwest winds beginning this evening and into tomorrow.

Hot and dry conditions, along with an unstable air mass, will persist. Residents should anticipate smoke columns and active fire movement.

The number of acres burned is 86,889 — up 921 acres from Thursday — with 44 percent contained. The number of fire personnel totals 759.

A community meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. today in the grange at Prairie City.

Resources include two Type 1 crews, 12 Type 2 crews, nine helicopters, 67 engines, 16 dozers, 23 water tenders and 11 skidgines.

Level 3 evacuations remain on:

• Upper Pine Creek from Berry Ranch Lane

• Dean Creek/Baldy Mountain

• Upper Dog Creek south of Little Dog Creek

• Gardner Ranch Lane

• Upper Indian Creek Road from the Y (71 junction) south

• The area west of County Road 62, south of the forest boundary.

Level 2 evacuations remain on:

• Lower Dog Creek

• Lower Pine and Lower Indian Creek

• From J-L south to the end of County Road 65.

The Oregon Fire Marshall’s Team left Wednesday but returned to the scene Thursday to protect structures after the Canyon Creek Complex grew. They remain on scene today with 50 engines.

After re-assessing the burned out areas, Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer said 11 structures were destroyed Wednesday, but none were primary residences. They were cabins, sheds and camp trailers located high in Upper Pine Creek and Indian Creek.

Firefighters and other resources worked throughout Thursday constructing fire line to protect structures in the Upper Pine Creek and Indian Creek areas. Repairs were made on the western side of the fire; those repairs consisted of repairing fences, breaking up berms from dozer lines and installing water bars to help minimize erosion impacts.

Aerial resources reinforced the dozer lines and pre-treated areas Thursday. Similar air resources will work over the fire area Friday.

Six Oregon National Guard units are stationed at Lake Creek Organizational Camp. They are working the western and southern perimeters of the fire, patrolling and securing control lines and ensuring that hot spots 150 feet in from the line are out.

Fire managers have been doing strategic planning since they arrived to identify early on actions and possible alternatives for a variety of situations, including trying to keep the fire out of the Strawberry Creek Drainage.

Thursday night, crews continued efforts in the northeastern portion by enhancing dozer line and pre-treating around structures. Resources conducted burnout operations from the 1640 road to Roads End to secure the southwest portion of the fire.

The intent of the burnout operations is to reduce fuel (burnable vegetation) between the main fire and the road in an effort to stop the fires spread at the 1640 road and from moving south. Seneca residents may see smoke in the afternoon from the burnout operation.

Varying levels of smoke lingered over the complex and the surrounding communities. Prairie City received steady smoke throughout Thursday, while areas south and west of the fire had less smoke.

Two portable smoke monitors arrived Aug. 24 and are now deployed; one monitor was placed in Prairie City and the other in Seneca. Real-time smoke readings are available at http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.


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