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Umpqua North Complex: Hot, dry weather continues, but dense smoke will moderate temps

Trees and debris on Highway 138 East on the Umpqua North Complex in the Umpqua National Forest on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (Kari Greer/U.S. Forest Service)

GLIDE, Ore. -- Hot and dry weather will continue Monday, however, dense smoke in the atmosphere will moderate high temperatures and low humidity somewhat.

Forest visitors are advised to use extreme caution when using any heat source. Smoking is limited to within vehicles or boats on water. Visitors should use caution when driving due to dense smoke and limited visibility.

The Upper Ash Flat and Double Buck fires (Falcon Complex) are now at 55% containment. Crews continue to monitor both fires, as well as the Tallow, Freeze and Cougar fires, which are considered 100% contained. When possible, firefighters from the Falcon Complex are assisting with the High Cascades Complex fires which are also burning in the vicinity.

Both the Tiller and North Umpqua Ranger Stations will be open Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide information to forest visitors.

North Zone, Umpqua National Forest: A Type 1 Incident Management Team, California Team 4 (J.Kurth) is working cooperatively with the Douglas Forest Protective Association (Thorpe) to manage the Umpqua North Complex on the North Umpqua and Diamond Lake ranger districts. For more information, check inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5505/ and follow the Umpqua National Forest on Facebook.

South Zone, Umpqua National Forest: A Type 3 Incident Management Team (Thompson) is managing the Falcon Complex on the Tiller Ranger District. For more information about these wildfires, check inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5484/ and follow Falcon Complex Wildland Fires on Facebook. Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 7 (Knerr) is managing the Paradise, Windy Gap, and Pup fires (formerly grouped in the Falcon Complex) as part of the High Cascades Complex. For more information on these fires, check inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5503/ or follow the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest on Facebook.

Evacuations/Closures: Douglas County uses a 3-level evacuation process, with levels 1-3 corresponding with preparedness levels of “(1) Ready, (2) Set, (3) Go.”

The Level 1 Evacuation Notice (fire danger exists in the area, be prepared) was lifted yesterday by the Douglas County Sheriff for the Susan Creek and the Moore Hill Lane areas.

A Level 1 Evacuation Notice, “Get Ready” (fire danger exists in the area, be prepared) remains in place for the Clearwater/Toketee Village area.

A Level 2 Evacuation Notice, “Get Set” (threat is greater, you must prepare to leave at a moment’s notice) remains in place for Dry Creek, Umpqua Last Resort, and Illahee areas and Soda Springs/Slide Creek area (Highway 138 East between mile markers 53 and 61).

There are no Level 3 Evacuation Orders “GO” (threat is imminent, evacuate immediately) at this time.

To register your telephone for the Douglas County Citizen Emergency Notification System and receive notifications about emergencies near your home, workplace, children’s school, or other important places, log onto http://www.dcso.com/alerts/ or call 541-440-4464.

Weather: It will remain hot, dry, and unstable today, however smoke shading is likely to reduce temperatures and moderate humidity. Monday’s forecast calls for high temperatures from 95 to 100 degrees with minimum humidity around 30% to 35%. Monday night will be clear, but smoky. Minimum temperatures will be around 60 to 65 degrees with maximum humidity around 75% to 95%.

Air Quality: For air quality and smoke information, visit airnow.gov.

Diamond Lake, North Umpqua and Tiller Ranger District Closure Orders: Forest Order 378 restricts public access to trails, roads, and forest areas due to wildfire activity. To view the closure order and an accompanying map, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd557073.pdf.

River Closure: A small portion of the North Umpqua River has been opened for angling. The north shore of the river is open from the Falls at Steamboat Inn to the Jeannie Fishing Hole. The remainder of the river from Soda Springs Dam to the Susan Creek Campground remains closed to all angling, rafting and other recreational use due to significant public safety risks.

Road Information: Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has closed Highway 138 (North Umpqua Highway) from mile marker 47 to mile marker 54. Highway 138 pullout closures are in effect from mile marker 31 to mile marker 35. Current road information for Highway 138 can be found on ODOT’s website at https://tripcheck.com/Pages/RCMap.asp.

Campgrounds: Please refer to the Umpqua National Forest website for a comprehensive list of campground closures at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/umpqua/alerts-notices.

For ideas of where to go, check out https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/umpqua/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD556360.

Campfires are permitted only in fire rings in designated campgrounds. A list of Public Use Restrictions is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd554660.pdf.

Industrial Fire Precaution Level restrictions (currently Level IV) protect the forest resources from unintentional fire starts due to unnoticed, accidental sparks or other heat sources associated with the use of machinery. In remote areas, unintentional small fires may quickly grow into large wildfires. Recreational campfires in approved fire rings in approved locations do not present the same level of risk, and so they continue to be allowed.

Due to widespread wildfire activity and the potential for extreme fire behavior, visitors are encouraged to know what areas of the Forest are closed so they can find places to recreate outside of closure areas. A forest closure is in place for public safety.

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