Willamina Creek Fire Update
9pm, Saturday evening
Wildfire smoke from the large fires in the intermountain west filled the Willamette Valley today serving as a vivid reminder of the intensity of this fire season. While the smoke is a nuisance and a health risk to residents here, it pales in comparison to the homes, livelihoods and lives lost to those immense wildfires. We remain aware of the harsh reality of this incredible fire season. Our thoughts are with those affected by fire, here at home and across the west.
The heavy smoke over the fire area Saturday helped to keep the temperatures lower than expected which allowed crews to make good progress on reinforcing containment lines. With the lower temperature gradients, the winds were lower and so the fire did not grow at all today. Tree falling crews worked in the fire area dropping hazard trees and snags which posed a threat to firefighters working below. Fire crews are still facing risks from rolling debris, snags and bees which require them to be ever-vigilant about safety. Tonight, crews are mopping up the fire, working from the outside toward the center of the fire. A hand-held infrared camera will be used overnight to identify hot spots which could lead to embers escaping the fireline if not extinguished.
A special thank you needs to be extended to volunteers from Yamhill County’s CERT program who are volunteering their time to staff the road block on Willamina Creek Road. The road block is in place to keep fire crews and the public safe.
The Willamina Creek Fire is currently estimated to be about 212 acres. The fire is burning in heavy trees and brush on high-value private and BLM timberland. Additional GPS data will be collected over the coming days to continue to improve accuracy of the acreage measurement.
Weather and Fire Behavior:
The forecast for Sunday calls for more hot and dry conditions with gusty winds. Temperatures will be 85-90 degrees with humidity between 29 and 34%.
Location: approx. 9 miles north of Willamina, OR
Percent contained: 20%
Size: 212 acres (estimated)
Cause: Under investigation
Start Date: 8/19/15, approximately 5:00 pm
Wildland resources assigned to the fire include (day and night shifts): 16 hand crews, 11 engines, 4 dozers, 12 water tenders, and overhead personnel.
Air resources: 1 Type 2 helicopter
Total personnel: 266
Evacuations and closures:
Four cabins along East Creek Road remain under a Level 3 evacuation. Willamina Creek Road and East Creek Road are closed north of the junction with Coast Creek Road.
Places to get information:
ODF Fire Blog – wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/
Facebook – www.facebook.com/oregondepartmentofforestry
Twitter – twitter.com/ORDeptForestry