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Disasters & Accidents

Weekend Wildfire Roundup

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InciWeb

More than 7,500 fire personnel continue to fight fires around Oregon. Here is a roundup of information on some of the fires burning across the state. For the most recent updates on any fire, visit the Incident Information Website.

Holiday Farm

On Sunday morning, all Level 3 evacuation orders were lifted for areas near the Holiday Farm Fire. Highway 126 from Camp Creek Road to McKenzie Ranger Station, including connecting roads, is now a Level 2.  The Level 2 (Be Set) Evacuation Notification for Highway 126 east of the McKenzie River Ranger Station to the junction of Highway 126 and Highway 20 (Santiam Junction) has been downgraded to Level 1 (Be Ready).

Although evacuation levels are lowered, OR Hwy 126 remains closed by ODOT between Leaburg Dam Road at milepost 23.9 and the west entrance of McKenzie River Drive at milepost 46.3 for safety, response, and repair work.

The Holiday Farm Fire is now estimated to be 173,025 acres with a perimeter that measures more than 260 miles.

Wildland fire crews continue to strengthen containment lines and are mopping up areas around the perimeter. Structural firefighters have been patrolling and extinguishing hot spots around structures.

The Urban Search & Rescue Team completed their mission Friday, evaluating and searching 1,537 buildings. They did not find any additional victims of the fire.

The Holiday Farm Fire is at 12% containment.

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Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
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KLCC
A firefighter works amid smoky conditions on the Holiday Farm Fire on Thurs., Sept 17 at Destination Foxtrot, an area 2.5 south of Leaburg, Ore.

Archie Creek

Friday’s rain helped firefighters on the Archie Creek Fire in Douglas county in making good progress on containing the fire by getting as close to its edge as possible. Fire managers say rain totals from the past two days of a half inch to an inch have helped firefighters make good progress on containing the fire by getting as close to its edge as possible with hand crews and heavy equipment. When some smoke cleared Friday, firefighters discovered and were able to contain a 60-acre smoldering area outside of the fire perimeter north of Glide.

Sunday brings sunnier, warmer and drier weather, which will begin to dry live and dead vegetation. As a result, firefighters expect to see more smoke and active fire. Conditions are expected to allow aircraft to fly today and helicopters are ready to support suppression efforts, if necessary.

Firefighters continue to take actions to keep the fire from spreading to structures. They are protecting buildings from fire in all areas, including along Little River Road and are assessing structure protection for the Bar L subdivision. Other areas of special protection include the Wolf Creek Job Corps, Susan Creek bridge, communications equipment on Scott Mountain and the Big Tree area.

The Archie Creek fire has burned 131,591 acres and is 38% contained. There are currently 1,096 personnel assigned to the fire.

Beachie Creek

The rain that came to the region over the past two days decreased fire activity and allowed firefighters to make a lot of progress securing the perimeter of the Beachie Creek Fire burning east of Salem.

On Saturday, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office says they discovered human remains on the property of George Atiyeh, the last person reported as missing in the area of the Beachie Creek Fire. The Marion County Medical Examiner's Office has not yet provided positive identification. The missing Atiyeh is heralded as an icon in the fight to preserve the Opal Creek area and is the nephew of former Oregon Gov. Vic Atiyeh. The remains were found Thursday in the North Fork Road area outside of Lyons. To date, five people have lost their lives in the Beachie Creek Fire.

The Beachie Creek Fire is the second largest fire burning in the state and has scorched 192,714 acres. The fire is 25% contained. Some evacuation levels were lowered on Friday, though Highway 22 remains closed between Highway 226 and Milepost 29, near the west end of Mill City.

Five additional engines, another hot shot squad and crews from Canada joined firefighting efforts Sunday. Officials say these new resources will work to secure the southernmost edge of the fire. On the western fire perimeter, crews are making progress securing lines to protect communities there. 

Fire managers say the emphasis for firefighters remains on protecting communities to the south and west of the fire. Firefighters continue to strengthen the lines around Scotts Mills, Stayton, Lyons, Mill City, and Detroit. Smoldering, small flames, and smoke will continue to be observed throughout the fire area.

The Willamette National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, and state lands around the Beachie Creek Fire remain closed to the public.

Echo Mountain Complex

The Echo Mountain Fire burning in Lincoln County is 75% contained and has burned 2,552 acres. Some residents in the Level 3 Evacuation area were allowed to briefly return to their homes on Friday and Saturday to check on their property and assess damage. Fire officials say 293 structures are “a total loss.” An additional 22 residential structures have sustained damage. Numerous outbuildings, automobiles, RVs, trailers, boats, and other personal property were also destroyed.

Lincoln County will be publishing a more comprehensive and finalized list of structures by address at a later date.

Riverside Fire

The Riverside Fire burning outside of Estacada has burned 137,865 acres and is 11% contained. Fire managers say despite much of the fire area receiving a quarter inch of rain or more over the past two days, the fire remains active in deep layers of needles on the forest floor, stumps, logs, and standing dead trees. ­

Efforts include hand crews and dozers constructing and connecting firelines on the west and north sides of the fire. In the latest update, it was noted that “the Riverside Fire remains the #1 priority in the Northwest Geographic Area.”

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Credit InciWeb
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InciWeb
Crews work on the lines of the Thielsen Fire.

Thielsen Fire

The Thielsen Fire continues to burn 5 miles north of Crater Lake National Park and within 1 mile of Diamond Lake Resort. As of Sunday morning, the fire was at 9,703 acres and was 22% contained. Fire managers say the spread potential for the fire is still high and firefighter safety remains a concern due to access to fire and steep terrain, including spread towards Cinnamon Butte. Crews plan to use direct attack where possible, using heavy equipment and firing as needed.

Lionshead Fire

The Lionshead fire is the largest fire burning in the state, at 198,314 acres and is at 10% containment. Early Sunday morning the Warm Springs Police Department indicated there are no longer any evacuation notices for the Sid Walter/Miller Flats area on the Lionshead Fire.

Fire managers report minimal creeping and smoldering with limited fire spread potential thanks to moisture received on the fire Friday.

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Credit InciWeb
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InciWeb
The Lionshead Fire is the largest fire burning in the state of Oregon as of Sun., Sept. 20, 2020.

The lightning caused fire started on the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation approximately 14 miles west of the Warm Springs community and has spread to the Willamette National Forest and beyond.

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