Sunday, August 31, 2014

Air Quality Report and Outlook for 8/31/14
The Deception fire had minimal growth yesterday due to light rain conditions.  Overnight, the more stable conditions trapped emissions at the elevation of the fire. These emissions will drop into the valley early this morning before clearing out in the afternoon increased north winds.

We forecast the air quality in Oakridge and Westfir to reach Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups in the morning but we anticipate the afternoon conditions to improve to the Moderate range.

On Monday, northeast winds that should continue to push the majority of smoke to the South away from Oakridge and Westfir.

Sunday Morning forecast
Aug 31, 2014
Sunday Afternoon forecast
Aug 31, 2014
Sunday Evening forecast
Aug 31, 2014
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Hills Creek Lake Area
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

Oakridge wildfires holding on

Light rain and cooler temperatures in the Cascades on Saturday didn’t help put out wildfires near Oakridge, but they helped prevent the fires from spreading.

The Deception Complex fire, a group of five fires west of Oakridge, has grown to 2,196 acres, according to the interagency team fighting the fire.

The fire, which is being fought by more than 900 firefighters, is 55 percent contained, said Candice Lawrence, an interagency spokeswoman.

Residents on LaDuke Road and in the Deception Creek Mobile Home Park along Highway 58 remained under a Level II “get set” advisory Saturday, meaning they need to be ready to leave immediately.

Rain fell in varying amounts in the Willamette Valley on Saturday, but no more than a few hundredths of an inch of precipitation were predicted for the hills around Oakridge, Lawrence said.

Scattered showers were predicted through Saturday night, yet the precipitation wasn’t expected to penetrate the forest canopy and put out the fires burning below, she said.

Yet the cooler temperatures and higher humidity, especially at night, are helping keep the fire from spreading through areas of grass and brush, Lawrence said.

“It helps around the perimeter of a fire,” she said. “It helps suppress the fire when we have rains and high humidity.”

The fire has been burning several weeks, but changing weather conditions on Wednesday led to it doubling in size.

Officials evacuated residents for a brief time Wednesday evening as the fire threatened homes.

Daytime temperatures on Sunday will be in the 70s in the Oakridge area on Sunday, Lawrence said. No rain is forecast for Sunday.

Firefighting officials do not expect the fire to grow much on Sunday, Lawrence said.

Moderately smoky conditions were expected, the interagency team said.

The air-conditioned, smoke-free room at the Willamette Activity Center in Oakridge will open this weekend if requested by people through the fire department, according to Mayor Jerry Shorey.

Parts of the Willamette National Forest remain closed. The Umpqua National Forest has closed an area next to the Deception Creek drainage.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Air Quality Report and Outlook for 8/30/14
The deception fire grew 149 acres yesterday as a result of interior burning and burn out operations to strengthen perimeter control lines.  Smoke from the majority of this increase vented to the southeast in the late afternoon and evening with valleys winds blowing out of the west. Overnight, the more stable conditions trapped emissions at the elevation of the fire. These emissions will drop into the valley late this morning peaking before noon and then clearing as a result of increased west winds this afternoon. 

We forecast the air quality in Oakridge and Westfir to reach Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups near noon for a short period before west valley winds will clear the area of the majority of pollutants. We anticipate the afternoon conditions in Westfir and Oakridge to improve to the Moderate range.

On Sunday, another frontal system will result in north winds that should push the majority of smoke to the South.
Saturday Morning forecast
Aug 30, 2014
Saturday Afternoon forecast
Aug 30, 2014
Saturday Evening forecast
Aug 30, 2014
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Hills Creek Lake Area

Friday, August 29, 2014

Crews make small gain against blaze

But the Deception Complex fire near Oakridge could still flare up if winds increase

Officials had evacuated for a short time a mobile home park along Highway 58 and about 60 homes along LaDuke Road on Wednesday evening after weather conditions allowed the Deception Complex fire to more than double in size to 1,832 acres from 851 acres. The residents remained on a Level II — or be prepared to leave — standby alert Thursday night.
The fire flared up again Thursday afternoon, as officials had predicted earlier in the day, but it wasn’t as intense as on Wednesday.
“It doesn’t look as bad as it was at this time yesterday,” Rick Acosta, spokesman for the interagency team leading the firefighting efforts, said late Thursday afternoon.
Ground crews were able to reinforce fire lines Thursday where the blaze had rapidly grown and jumped the lines a day earlier, he said. They were assisted by helicopters dumping water and fire retardant on the flames.
More than 1,000 personnel, nine helicopters and more than 40 engines were on the scene Thursday, Acosta said.
Cooler temperatures forecast starting today and continuing through the weekend are expected to aid firefighting efforts. But officials at a news conference Thursday said they are concerned that winds may strengthen or become increasingly unpredictable this weekend.
Residents put on alert said they were breathing a little easier Thursday compared with the day before.
“I feel like we’re going to be okay, unless things switch dramatically overnight” and that seemed doubtful, said Jerry Shortt, who lives on LaDuke Road.
Shortt, 70, and his cousin spent hours Wednesday and Thursday watering down his 7 -acre property with sprinklers and hoses. It’s the closest wildfire has gotten in the nearly 40 years he’s lived on the property, he said. The fire was kept at bay Wednesday night, but burnt leaves rained down on his property.
Acosta reminded residents who have been put on alert to remain vigilant.
“Residents should take that seriously,” he said of the Level II standby alert. “There is still fire in the area.”
The fire was burning west of the Middle Fork ranger station on Highway 58 on the other side of a tall ridgeline. The ranger station, located about four miles west of Oakridge, was closed.
Lightning storms caused the first fires in the area in July, with an Aug. 10 storm causing at least one new fire in the area.
Meg Mitchell, Williamette National Forest supervisor, said Thursday that firefighters had been focusing on digging fire lines to contain the fire rather than attempting to extinguish it because the steep terrain was deemed unsafe for firefighters.
The fire had been about half contained Wednesday but quickly grew that afternoon when changing weather conditions brought in warmer and drier air, officials said.
Three smaller fires merged, and the blaze was able to jump containment lines and run up the ridgeline separating it from the homes. Burning debris ignited a few small spot fires on the hillside above the homes before firefighters quickly extinguished them. No structures were lost.
“It made all its push in a couple-hour period, then it set down,” said Shawn Sheldon, another Willamette National Forest official.
The smoke settled over Oakridge and caused air quality in the eastern Lane County town to deteriorate to unhealthy levels both days. The city’s air quality remained at an unhealthy level Thursday night.
In response to the unhealthy air quality, the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency advised residents to stay indoors, if possible, and limit outdoor activity, especially for children, senior citizens and people with heart and lung conditions.
The smoke has drifted into Bend and Cottage Grove, and the Waldo Lake Recreation Area farther east in the Willamette National Forest was reported to be very smoky.

Highway 58 remained open to traffic, although smoke limited visibility at times. Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Rick Little said it is possible the highway may be closed at some point due to the fire.
“We’ve also notified the contractor on a paving project east of Oakridge to be prepared to leave the highway quickly if such notification is necessary,” Little said Thursday. “That contractor is currently making a strong push to complete the paving today.”

Little also said people traveling over the holiday weekend should stay informed about the fire, be prepared to take an alternate route, and be ready for the unexpected if their route includes Highway 58.
At the Deception Creek Mobile Home Park on Thursday morning, Phil Macabee, 76, was gathering up belongings to return to his daughter’s home in Oakridge.
The smoke has been keeping away from the area in recent weeks, giving comfort to the residents, he said, but everything changed when the wind shifted Wednesday.
Macabee was attending an informational meeting Wednesday afternoon at the ranger station when he was told to go home due to the Level II standby alert.
He returned home to find the plume of smoke rising near the mobile home park, turning the setting sun red.
A neighbor told him about the Level III evacuation order at around 6 p.m., and he, his wife and their seven cats left to stay the night at their daughter’s home. As the fire settled for the night, officials returned to a Level II standby alert a short time later.
Macabee said he wasn’t getting worked up about the uncertainty because the fire was out of his control.
“You can’t accomplish anything worrying,” he said. “You have to have a plan of action and act.”
He also praised the work of the firefighters. They’ve done as good a job as humanly possible,” he said.
Officials said residents appeared to be taking news of the fire in stride.
“Overall, I’d say the community is pretty used to wildfire,” said Tom Lavagnino, another fire team spokesman.
Reporter Jack Moran contributed to this report.
Follow Christian on Twitter @RGchill . Email .

Deception Fire Update 8/29

       The Deception Fire grew by 313 acres yesterday.  Smoke from the fire was observed down drainage to the northwest as far as Dexter and up into the Cascades as far as the crest and O’Dell Lake on the Deschutes NF. The smoke started to disperse early afternoon however much of it remained trapped in the drainages. Smoke levels increased in Oakridge and along HWY 58 early Friday morning.
     Expect smoke to increase through the morning around Oakridge to Unhealthy Levels for Sensitive Groups and worsen to Unhealthy in early afternoon for a short period.  Smoke should lift later in the afternoon with increasing winds and improve back to Unhealthy Levels for Sensitive Groups.  

Air Quality Outlook (Particulate Matter less than 2.5 µm in diameter)

Friday Morning forecast
Aug 29, 2014
Friday Afternoon forecast
Aug 29, 2014
Friday Evening forecast
Aug 29, 2014
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Hills Creek Lake Area
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Air in Central and Southern Oregon unhealthy for sensitive groups due to wildfire smoke yesterday and this morning

News Release: Aug. 28, 2014

DEQ provides tools people can use to determine air quality conditions during smoke events

Air quality in and around Klamath Falls deteriorated Wednesday night and in Bend Thursday morning and is unhealthy for sensitive groups, including those with asthma and other respiratory conditions.

People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children, are advised to stay indoors. Poor air quality conditions are a health threat and should be avoided by all residents in smoky communities. Remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly depending on weather factors, including wind direction.

How healthy is the air in your community? Check DEQ’s Air Quality Index to see real-time air monitoring data from monitors placed around Oregon.

On the west side of the Cascades, the air quality index reached the “unhealthy” range in Oakridge yesterday for the first time this year. The Deception Creek Complex fire near Oakridge also caused the Eugene/Springfield area to reach the “moderate” range. Visit the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency website for updates on smoke levels in Lane County.

During wildfire smoke events, DEQ urges residents to take the following precautions:

• Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area and avoid the places with highest concentrations.

• Avoid smoke either by leaving the area or protecting yourself by staying indoors, and by closing windows and doors.

• Avoid strenuous outdoor activity in smoky conditions.

• People exposed to smoky conditions and who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems should follow their breathing management plans or contact their healthcare providers.

What if your community doesn’t have an air quality monitor? Monitoring locations are limited and pollution levels may be higher in some areas, especially those closer to a wildfire.

Conduct a visual assessment: People can conduct a visual assessment of nearby smoke to quickly get a sense of air quality levels. Generally, if you can see up to 15 miles, the air quality is probably good. If you can see less than one mile, the air quality is very unhealthy and everyone should avoid outdoor activities. Refer to the descriptions below for more information based on how far you can see in various conditions:

Between 5-15 miles: Air quality is moderate and beginning to deteriorate, and is generally healthy, except possibly for smoke sensitive persons. The general public should avoid prolonged exposure if conditions are smoky to the point where visibility is closer to the 5 mile range.

If under 5 miles: The air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness. These people should minimize outdoor activity.

If under 3 miles: The air quality is unhealthy for everyone. Young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should avoid all outdoor activities.

If under 1 mile: The air quality is very unhealthy, and in some cases may be hazardous. Everyone should avoid all outdoor activities.

For more information on using the visibility index during wildfires, visit

For more information on smoke and wildfires in Oregon, visit


Larry Calkins, DEQ Air Quality Program, Bend, 503-752-9374

Tom Kuhn, Deschutes County Health, Bend, 541-322-7410

William Knight, DEQ Communications, Salem, 503-757-1889





Sky Lakes Wilderness 790 Fire Update

Date:  August 28, 2014, 11:00 am


SOUTHWEST OR— Recent mapping of the 790 Fire has reported a total of 2,095 acres burned.  Crews continue their efforts on the eastern portions of the fire near the Pacific Crest Trail. 

Currently, a Type 3 Incident Management Team (Edwards) is managing the full fire suppression efforts.  Today a Type 2 Incident Management Team will be briefed regarding the current fire situation.  This Type 2 Incident Management Team is expected to assume management of the 790 Fire Friday, August 29, 2014.


The Pacific Crest Trail south of the Crater Lake National Park and north of State Highway 140 remain closed.  This trail closure recently was modified to address the recent fire activity.  The following trails were added to the previous trail closure: Nannie Creek Trail, Cherry Creek Trail and all trails which depart Cold Spring Trail Head.  For full closure details please refer to


Firefighting resources currently assigned to the suppression activities are 75 wildland firefighters, 12 rappellers, and 24 smokejumpers which are all supported by a 10-mule pack string and seven helicopters.


The Klamath Basin recently has been plagued with fire smoke issues.  Due to the jet stream flow of the recent days, the smoke experienced in the Klamath Basin is primarily from the wildland fires currently burning in California.  Ash deposits can be found anywhere heavy smoke can be seen. 


The 790 Fire is located in the Sky Lakes Wilderness with a primary southern edge located one mile south of Big Ben Creek and east to Snow Lakes.  The northern edge of the fire remains south of Finch Lake.  This 790 Fire resulted from the lightning activity that occurred July 31, 2014 and is located in an area difficult for crews to access safely.  The terrain is rugged and rocky with much blow down debris and standing snags, which prevent firefighters from safely and actively engaging with the fire perimeter.


As the Labor Day holiday approaches, firefighters asks recreationalists to be aware that the fire fuels continue to dry and fire danger remains High.  Please be aware of current restrictions and closures.


Contact: Scott Blower, Acting Public Affairs Specialist, 541.471.6745




Where is the smoke coming from in Klamath Falls?

Below is a model run conducted by the USFS from a fire in the Sky Lakes Wilderness North and West of Klamath Falls.


Blue Sky Model Run – Time Series

Klamath Falls – August 28th Blue Sky run

Klamath Falls August 27th – 9PM – #790 Fire Sky Lakes Wilderness Wildfire 2095 acres

Klamath Falls August 28 2AM

Klamath Falls August 28 – 6AM

Klamath Falls August 28 9AM

Klamath Falls August 28 2PM




Smoke from Deception Creek Wildfire Complex

Where is the smoke coming from in Bend? Below is a time series from a USFS Model Run showing the predicted smoke impacts from the Deception Creek Wildfire Complex.


Blue Sky Run – Time Series from 8:30 this AM


Bend - August 28th run

Bend - August 28, 2014 at Midnight - Deception Creek Complex Fire near Oakridge - 946 acres


August 28 – 4AM Deception Creek Fire

Bend – August 28 11AM Deception Creek Fire

Bend August 28 3PM - Deception Creek Fire




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Deception Fire - Evening Update 8/27

The Deception Fire made a significant run at approximately 4:30 on Wednesday afternoon. Exact acreage increase is unknown but possibly another 400 acres. Burning is expected to continue through the night. Transport winds carried the smoke to the east of Oakridge but are expected to settle with night cooling. Smoke impacts are expected tonight and throughout the morning in the Oakridge community, on Hwy 58 and along the Middle Fork of the Willamette. 

Deception Fire Update 8/28 - John Cook ARA

The Deception Fire grew 235 acres on Tuesday 8/26.  Poor dispersion and light NW winds have kept the smoke in the Oakridge community through the mid-afternoon. The Oakridge Air Quality monitor is currently in the Unhealthy level but smoke is slowly lifting with increased NW winds. There is light smoke along Hwy 58 and down the Middle Fork of the Willamette. Moderate growth continued today and similar conditions are expected tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Northwest wildfires: Crews still battling 8 large, uncontained blazes

Lynne Terry | By Lynne Terry |
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on August 25, 2014 at 9:26 AM, updated August 25, 2014 at 9:27 AM
The wildfire season appears to be winding down, with crews containing four large blazes in Washington state in the past 24 hours.

The Little Bridge Creek fire west of Winthrop and the Upper Falls fire north of Winthrop are both now 100 percent contained. So is the Carlton Complex south of Twisp, which has been burning over a month and has torched more than 256,100 acres. The other blaze that's now 100 percent lined is the the Auvil Canyon fire northwest of Waterville, which has scorched more than 600 acres.

In Oregon, the Deception/Stanley complex remains the top priority. Sparked by lightning, the five fires in the complex have charred nearly 470 acres and are 53 percent contained. The fires are burning on steep, rugged terrain, threatening recreational areas and a municipal watershed but no homes.

Elsewhere in Oregon:

The Bald Sisters Fire has burned more than 1,100 acres in Grant County east of Prairie City and remains zero percent contained.

The South Fork complex south of John Day covers more than 66,100 acres but is 96 percent contained.

The 790 fire northeast of Medford has charred more than 1,300 acres and is 5 percent contained.

The Sommers Fire northeast of Enterprise grew has scorched more than 36,100 acres and is 75 percent contained.

In Washington:

The Devil's Elbow complex northeast of Nespelem has torched more than 26,400 acres and remains 95 percent contained.

The Snag Canyon fire has burned nearly 12,600 acres and is 92 percent contained.

The South Cle Elum Ridge fire southwest of Cle Elum has torched nearly 900 acres and is 97 percent contained.

-- Lynne Terry

Monday, August 18, 2014

Northwest wildfires: Crews make progress but extreme conditions remain in parts of Oregon

Lynne Terry | By Lynne Terry |
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on August 18, 2014 at 9:53 AM
Firefighters across the Northwest have made progress in the past 24 hours thanks to cooler temperatures and higher humidity but forecasters warned Monday that part of Oregon still faces an extreme fire threat.

A total of 15 large, uncontrolled blazes are burning in Oregon and Washington, with 16 holdover fires popping up in the last 24 hours from lightning strikes last week.

Initial attack crews managed to contain all of the small fires while making progress against big ones, said Carol Connolly, spokeswoman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

"Things are looking pretty good on the large fires," she said. "Crews are starting to increase containment numbers."

The improvement has been good news for weary crews, who've been toiling around the clock. Bosses were able to demobilize 1,000 firefighters and support personnel in Oregon on Sunday, and allow the same number in Washington to leave. Many will go home though some might be relocated after they get some rest.

As for the weather, the lightning storms have subsided but Oregon was still hit by just over 2,600 strikes in the past 24 hours, mostly east of the Cascades. Nearly 125 strikes were recorded in Washington. Forecasters issued a red flag warning on Monday for south-central Oregon, indicating an extreme fire threat there. On Tuesday, they predict that heavy winds will sweep across northern Oregon up into Washington.

Here's a snapshot of fires in Oregon:

The South Fork complex south of John Day has charred nearly 65,000 acres and is 72 percent contained.

The Sommers Fire northeast of Enterprise grew has scorched nearly 36,000 acres and is 58 percent contained.

The Staley complex southeast of Oakridge has torched about 270 acres and is now 47 percent contained.

The Bald Sisters Fire has burned more than 1,100 acres in Grant County east of Prairie City and remains zero percent contained.

The Rogue River drive fire north of Medford has charred 500 acres and is 60 percent contained.

-- Lynne Terry
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