Downed power lines sparked 13 Oregon fires

A fire incident report says downed power lines sparked at least 13 fires during a period of high winds last week between two Oregon communities that were devastated by flames.

The report from the Northwest Interagency Fire Coordination Center that was written last Thursday says the fires ignited between Mehama and Detroit east of the capital of Salem during peak winds on Sept. 7.

The report doesn’t say to what extent those fire starts affected a larger, separate blaze that started Aug. 16.

That wind-driven fire, called the Beachie Creek Fire, swept through a canyon on Sept. 8 and wiped out the towns of Detroit, Gates, Mill City and Idanha. Its cause is still under investigation.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission told local media Tuesday that it had no information that attributed a “specific wildfire to any specific Oregon utility.”

The Oregon Department of Forestry is closely monitoring 12 major fires in Oregon, (see table below for details).

Fires are removed from the list when they are 100% lined and fire managers are confident in their progress toward containment.

There are about 6,500 personnel assigned to these fires from across the nation and Canada. This doesn’t include the many government emergency response employees, landowners, forestland operators, and members of the community who are contributing to the fight in whatever way they can. About 1 million acres have burned in Oregon since the start of this year, which is nearly double the 10-year average of approximately 557,811.

Fire name Acres burned (est.) Containment Location
Beachie Creek 191,138 20% 15 miles N of Detroit
Lionshead 189,316 10% 20 miles W of Warm Springs
Holiday Farm 170,637 8% 3 miles W of McKenzie Bridge
Riverside 135,956 3% 2 miles SE of Estacada
Archie Creek 128,020 20% 20 miles E of Glide
Brattain 44,800 20% 8 miles S of Paisley
Slater 38,721 in Oregon 10% SE of Cave Junction (also in No. California)
S. Obenchain 32,814 25% 5 miles E of Eagle Point
Two Four Two 14,473 29% W/NW of Chiloquin
Thielsen 8,645 1% E of Diamond Lake
Echo Mtn. Complex 2,552 45% 4 miles NE of Lincoln City
North Cascade Complex 2,315
Multiple locations in ODF’s North Cascade District

Please note: The acres burned estimates above are based very limited information available. These numbers will change over the next several days, in some cases significantly. We will be taking every opportunity to map these fires. Fire maps are an important tool for both ongoing response operations and keeping people informed.

Creating a Defensible Space

Fire and emergency management teams are asking that residents begin protecting their homes from potential disaster during wildfire season. Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan met with members of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Oregon, the Bend Fire Department and Project Wildfire for an in-depth look at how you can create defensible spaces around your home to protect it and your family from wildfire.

Prescribed Burn Season Underway

If you are seeing smoke in the Sisters and La Pine area tonight, it’s a sign of the beginning of the prescribed burn season. Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel looks at why the low-intensity fires are so important in the effort to prevent larger wildfires in the summer.

Defensible Space Saves Homes from Graham Fire

Some residents near Culver and Lake Billy Chinook are returning to their homes for the first time since evacuating from the threat posed by the Graham Fire last week.
Central Oregon Daily’s Lisa Carton spent Monday in the fire area to look at some of the damages left behind by the fire and the homes that were saved by firefighters and defensible spaces around the houses.

Supper Club: The Importance of Prescribed Burns

Another prescribed burn happened near Sisters this week, which is the latest in a series of controlled burns that are designed to prevent larger wildfires later in the season.

For this week’s Supper Club, Lisa Carton sat down with three fire experts to talk about why these burns are so important to do right now, at this time of the year. The month of May is also wildfire awareness month in Oregon.

Thanks to Deschutes County Forester, Ed Keith, Project Wildfire Program Coordinator, Alison Green, and Alex Robertson of Central Oregon Fire Management Service, for joining us.

A special thanks to our Supper Club sponsors, Selco Community Credit Union, for giving us the time and resources to talk about the issues that impact our region every Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon on Central Oregon Daily.

The Great Outdoors: Prescribed Burns Around the High Desert Museum

It’s that time of year when fire officials start lighting controlled burns to get rid of potential fuels on the ground for the upcoming wildfire season.

For this week’s Great Outdoors, Central Oregon Daily’s Brian Jennings takes a look at a prescribed burn scheduled to take place around one of the region’s biggest attractions, the High Desert Museum.

Thanks Brian for that report.

A special thanks to our Great Outdoors sponsor, Parr Lumber, for giving us the time and resources to explore the lakes, rivers and mountains across our beautiful state every Wednesday night on Central Oregon Daily.

Preparations for Fire Season

If you saw smoke south of Bend today and thought it is too early for wildfires, you were right. 
U.S. Forest Service-Deschutes National Forest workers kicked off their prescribed burn season today off China Hat Road, and Central Oregon Daily’s Allison Roecker was there when the controlled fires were ignited.