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11 miles of Hwy 138E remains closed due to Umpqua North Complex of fires; 7% contained

Umpqua North Complex public closures, August 24, 2017. (Via Umpqua North Complex 17)

GLIDE, Ore. -- The Umpqua North Complex of wildfires continues to burn east of Roseburg Thursday.

Firefighters took advantage of mild temperatures, moderate humidity, and light winds on Wednesday to make gains on the Umpqua North Complex. Conditions were favorable for burnout operations on the southwest side of the Fall Creek Fire, where crews were able to ignite unburned vegetation between constructed firelines and the approaching wildfire. This fire is now 32% contained.

Other personnel conducted similar operations on the northwest side of the Happy Dog Fire, working to ensure that this fire does not spread to the west. On other parts of the complex, firefighters constructed new firelines and reinforced existing lines.

Plans for Thursday include continuing burnout operations where feasible and improving firelines. Fire managers will develop plans for building control lines on the northeast side of the Ragged Ridge Fire.

Thursday “should be another good day to gain some ground,” stated Jon Glover, Ops Section Chief. On parts of the complex where fire has already burned up to the firelines, crews will begin “mopping up,” using water and hand tools to cool hot spots to further strengthen these control lines.

Lightning started dozens of fires across the northern Umpqua National Forest during the week of August 9, igniting fires along both sides of Highway 138 East in Douglas County.

Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team and Douglas Forest Protective Association remain in charge of firefighting operations. A total of 892 people are working the operation.

The complex has burned 13,546 acres based on infrared flight overnight. The complex is 7 percent contained.

Closure Notice: Highway 138 East from Mile Markers 43 to 54 remains closed due to concerns with falling debris and fire activity. Road shoulders and pullouts between Mile Markers 31 to 35 of the highway are also closed to provide for public and firefighter safety. For the latest road closure information, call the Oregon Department of Transportation at 511 or 1-888-977-6368 or go to https://tripcheck.com/Pages/RCMap.asp#.

The North Umpqua River remains closed from Boulder Flat Raft Launch to Susan Creek Campground to boaters and anglers due to falling trees and rolling debris except for an 850’ section near the Steamboat Inn that is open for fishing only. Anglers must check in at the inn before entering the river.

Evacuation Notices: No changes from Sunday August 20, 2017

Level 1 Evacuation Notice – “Get Ready” (threat in the area) – the Clearwater area, along Highway 138 East from Mile Marker 53 to Mile Marker 61, the Susan Creek residential area and the BLM Susan Creek Campground, HWY 138 E from Mile Marker 28 east to the Forest Service/BLM.

Level 2 Evacuation Notice – “Get Set” (threat is increasing) – Moore Hill Lane.

Level 3 Evacuation Notice – “Go” (threat is imminent) – Dry Creek and Illahee areas.

Weather Conditions:

Fire activity will be moderated today by cloudy skies and mild temperatures. High temperatures will range from 64° at higher elevations to 75° in the valleys. Relative humidity will drop as low as 43% and winds will be relatively light, ranging from 1 to 14 mph.

The air quality index for the Umpqua North Complex for Thursday is “Moderate” in the Diamond Lake area and “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” for the Toketee Falls areas. For further information, go to: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

Structure Protection Planning:

As the Happy Dog and Fall Creek fires continue to move both east and west along the HWY 138 E corridor, the Structure Protection Group is out ahead of the advancing fires by many miles. This group is tasked with developing structure protection plans for individual homes and structures. These plans require an on-site inspection during which they review ingress and egress routes, conditions of defensible space around the structures, and safety zones should fire threaten the structures. Fire crews perform mitigating measures if time permits. Please welcome and work with these firefighters as they arrive to your home to complete this important work.

Flight Restrictions:

The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) was modified Monday, August 22 for the fire complex. Pilots looking for additional information on the TFR go to: http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html. The objective is to provide a safe environment for firefighting aircraft operations. The public is reminded that it is illegal to operate drones within a TFR.

Umpqua National Forest Closure Orders:

The Umpqua National Forest remains closed in areas of the North Umpqua and Diamond Lake Ranger Districts. For more information see Public Notices at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/Umpqua/alerts-notices

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