Early Saturday morning 27-July-2013 Lincoln County Fire Departments were called to respond to the Douglas Complex Fire outside Glendale, Oregon. 54 Fires in the Douglas county area were part of the Douglas Complex, several burned together to make the larger of the two fires, Dad’s Creek and Rabbit Mountain. These fires were started from a storm system that brought dry lightning through the area a few days before. This was the second time in a week that the Conflagration Act was used by the Governor, asking for assistance from structural fire departments to assist in protecting structures and aid in wildland fire suppression.
Lincoln County responded with a Task Force of Fire apparatus and personnel from Toledo Fire & Rescue, Newport Fire Department, Yachats Fire & Rescue and Siuslaw Valley Fire & Rescue (from Florence). These crews left Lincoln County at 5:00am and were on the fire line later that afternoon. Crews from Linn, Marion, Lane and Benton Counties also responded to the fire. Lincoln County Task Force was assigned to night shift on the Dad’s Creek fire, one of several fires burning in the area. The first three nights were spent in a defensive role protecting structures on the west end of the town of Glendale. On Wednesday crews were used in a more offensive role attacking the fire with backfiring and burnout operations. On Friday the fire had blown up to the south and made a run towards the community of Wolf Creek. Crews were moved to that area to continue protecting structures and assist Oregon Department of Forestry crews’ containment of the fire.
Crews battled extremely high temperatures in to the low 100’s, high erratic winds, low humidity levels into the mid-teens, rough terrain, poison oak and rattle snakes along with difficulty getting water due to drought conditions. “This was an excellent experience for our firefighters from Lincoln County and our neighbors from Florence. Not only were we able to protect homes but our firefighters got to participate in operations that we only can discuss and practice in a table top situations at home. Conflagrations allow us to help other Oregon fire departments and State Forestry without being a financial burden to the community. Departments are reimbursed for personnel on the line and the apparatus are paid an hourly wage for time away from home. All in all, this was another great opportunity for our fire departments.” Stated Task Force Leader Andy Parker.
Crews were released to go home on Sunday afternoon seven and a half days after they arrived. In that time the fire had burned more than 28,000+ acres, and only four structures were lost (no homes, only out buildings). Crews from all over the United States had been sent to assist in the suppression efforts, the National Guard had been mobilized to assist and cost exceeded one million dollars a day.
This fire happened only a week after crews returned from the Williams Fire just outside of Grants Pass. Fire conditions are very high right now and crews across the northwest are stretched thin trying to contain almost a dozen large wildfires. Please be careful if you are planning any trips to the woods and check for any restrictions due to fire danger. This can be done through your local Oregon Department of Forestry office (Toledo O.D.F. 541-336-2273).
Newport Fire Department
Task Force Leader
Lincoln County Task Force