Wednesday, September 13, 2017

09-13-17 Chetco Bar Updates from Curry and Josephine Counties

09-12-17 Chetco Bar (East) Update Josephine County

On Tuesday, the most significant fire activity on the Chetco Bar Fire was on the southwestern perimeter. Retardant and water drops were used to slow the fire’s spread in this area.

In the Chetco East Zone Fire area, the 784 Fire (Indigo Fire), on the West Fork of Indigo Creek, is approximately 134 acres. This fire is located about one mile west of the Josephine/Curry county line, approximately 10 miles north of the Chetco Bar Fire. As the fire burns in very steep terrain, two dozers and four crews are working to prepare the 055 and 510 road systems for access and fire containment lines to prevent spread eastward. The Chetco Bar East Zone is coordinating response to the 784 Fire/Indigo Fire with the Chetco Bar West Zone to prevent fire spread to the west.

Single tree torching was observed on the north side of the Chetco East Zone Fire near the horseshoe of the Illinois River. There was very little fire activity on the eastern perimeter on Tuesday.

Smoke: Air quality is much improved. There was moderate smoke settling in the Illinois River Valley on Tuesday afternoon, which should continue for Cave Junction and Grants Pass today. Unusually sensitive individuals should consider limiting prolonged or heavy exertion. For current air quality information and forecasts go to

Tuesday, fire crews began fireline construction in steep, rocky areas along the ridge west of the headwaters of Parker Creek. To access the remote area, two crews established a short-term spike camp to reduce the amount of travel time from fire camp at Lake Selmac. The establishment of the spike camp will increase the amount of line constructed during daylight hours. Food and supplies were inserted by helicopter to establish spike camp. East of the fire, dozers are completing one full pass of fireline construction to the north to a point just short of Bear Camp on Forest Service Road 23.

Today, fire crews plan to scout fireline locations on the ridge near Buckskin Peak. Hand crews continue brushing out old Biscuit fireline from Tennessee Pass north around the west side of Tennessee Mountain. Heavy equipment continues reopening firelines to the north and hand crews follow removing snags and brush. Protection of the Illinois River Road using a masticator is nearly complete. Available hand crews are following the dozers to strengthen the lines by removing brush and downed fuel.

Weather: Today’s high temperatures will be down 3-5 degrees with a high of 84 degrees on ridges. Relative humidity (RH) will increase, with the minimum RH forecast at 27%. Winds are forecast out of the northeast at 4-8 mph, with little instability in the atmosphere. Fire activity will include smoldering and creeping with little chance of torching or spot fires. Initial attack crews will be available to respond to any new starts.

Closures and Restrictions: Many areas and activities are closed or restricted due to current and expected fire activity and hazard. More details are available on People can view maps of the current Evacuation Notification areas at

Fire at a Glance:
Size: 184,607 acres
Started: July 12, 2017 by Lightning
Containment: 8%
Assigned Resources:
Helicopters shared across the Chetco Bar Fire: three Type 3; two Type 2; one Type 1; three National Guard Type 1.

Ground resources on the Chetco East Zone: 14 Type 2 crews; 8 Engines; 5 Fallers; 6 Dozers; 4 Water Tenders; 4 Masticators; 2 Chippers; 1 Skidder, 1 Grader.

09-13-17 (West) Curry Chetco Bar Fire Update

The Chetco Bar Fire is being managed by Great Basin Incident Management Team 1, under Unified Command with the U.S. Forest Service and the Coos Forest Protective Association. Providing for public and firefighter safety is the highest priority.

Tuesday’s weather trend toward slightly cooler temperatures, slightly higher humidities, a bit of cloud cover over the fire and light winds allowed firefighting crews to utilize direct suppression tactics. Air operations were also heavily engaged yesterday, taking advantage of clearer skies and the lighter winds. Water and retardant were dropped into areas to cool the fire’s edge in locations that were accessible to firefighters, to provide for direct attack closest to areas with values at risk.
Portions of the fire are smoky with hot spots within the interior and along the perimeter. Fuels are still very dry, despite the bit of rain last week. Fire activity is smoldering, backing, and creeping, with active ground fire in scattered areas. Fire may be more active in the higher elevations along ridgetops where the humidities are lower and winds gusty. Lines were constructed along segments of the south and southwest perimeter and efforts are being made to tie in firelines at Wheeler Creek. The fire edge nearest to Pistol River and Meadow Creek became active, crossed direct line but was stopped at the contingency lines. Direct line and contingency lines continue to be constructed, using helicopters and retardant drops when conditions allow. Firing operations may be conducted to secure perimeter.
Smoke:  Impacts continue to be light to moderate in communities surrounding the fire but overall, air quality has improved.
Forest Closures:
Weather: Cooler temperatures will begin today, with higher humidities. A morning inversion will likely trap smoke below 2000 feet in drainages but should start to lift around midday. Winds will be light in the morning and then become more terrain driven with north-northeast winds at the ridgetops. The fire area will experience moderate to good nighttime humidity recovery, and relative humidities will be in the 31-42% range today and up to 95% at night, with temperatures 75-84. Thursday will bring temperatures 66-78, with daytime humidities 29-40%. 
Temporary Flight Restriction: There is a TFR over the Chetco Bar Fire. 

Data collection is continuing on the western portion of the fire’s perimeter for repair of suppression damage. Patrol and mop continues all along the western side of the fire.

Level 1 and Level 2 evacuation orders remain for portions of Brookings-Harbor and the Upper Winchuck areas. Level 3 evacuations remain for areas within the fire perimeter. 

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation has had a long-established evacuation shelter for displaced residents of the Chetco Bar fire. Located at the former Ship Ashore resort in the Smith River, CA area, many volunteers have been hard at work for over a month, providing free meals and RV and tent camping for local residents who have been evacuated from their homes due to the fire.

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