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Thunderstorms expected ahead of cooler weather for Umpqua North Complex

Engine 1-4 was at Fairview Lookout this weekend before going back to assist with the Umpqua North Complex on Monday, September 4, 2017. (Photo via Umpqua National Forest)

GLIDE, Ore. -- The lightning caused Umpqua North Complex of fires is now estimated at 38,298 acres with 32% containment.

On Wednesday, areas on the complex had minimal fire activity due to the predicted change in the weather pattern. The incoming weather from the west brought cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity, which also meant a change in fire behavior. Scattered thunderstorms dampened the fire and minimized fire activity. However, heavy fuel loads will continue to burn and hold heat depending on the amount of precipitation an area receives.

Along Forest Road 28, crews secured containment lines utilizing the powerline corridor, dozer line, and FR 3701. A portion of a burn out operation was completed along FR 28 and FR 3701 in order to prevent the fire from spreading north and east toward values at risk and populated areas along Highway 138 East. In addition, the northeastern boundary of the Brokentooth Fire was prepped for future burnout operations if needed when weather conditions allow. Further to the east, the Rattlesnake Fire was monitored and suppression actions will be taken after careful consideration, due to the fire being located in the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness.

The Fall Creek Fire is 99 percent contained and focus will shift towards suppression repair. Crews are increasing their mop-up depth as they secure the western flank of the Happy Dog/Ragged Ridge Fire. Crews will start to go direct along the fire line, utilizing old timber sale roads on the northeast flank of the Happy Dog/Ragged Ridge Fire taking advantage of cooler, wetter weather.

Thursday, thunderstorms are expected ahead of cooler, showery weather. High temperatures will top out between 68 and 78 degrees, with minimum relative humidity in the 57 to 67 percent range. There is a 60 percent chance of showers Thursday and Thursday night. A Red Flag Warning is in effect until 11 p.m. Thursday for scattered lightning, dry fuels, and a high fire danger. A Flash Flood Watch is also in effect Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for the burn area.

Information on smoke can be found on the Oregon smoke blog. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has information on emergency preparedness services including how to register your cell phone via the Citizen Emergency Notification System at http://dcso.com/.

Evacuations:

Level 1 Evacuation Notice “Be Ready” for the Clearwater area along Highway 138 East from Mile Marker 56 to Mile Marker 61.

Level 2 Evacuation Notice “Be Set” for Dry Creek, Illahee areas and Slide Creek along Highway 138 East from Mile Marker 53 to 56.

Road Closures:

Highway 138 E is closed from Mile Markers 47 to 54 due to hazardous trees and debris falling onto the roadway as well as the possibility of increased fire activity near the road corridor. There is no detour around the road closure and it is recommended the public plan an alternate travel route prior to departing home.

The Umpqua National Forest remains closed in areas of the North Umpqua and Diamond Lake Ranger Districts. The North Umpqua River remains closed to boaters and anglers from Soda Springs Dam to the Susan Creek Campground. The north shore of the North Umpqua River from FR 4714 (Panther Creek Road) to Susan Creek that has been reopened to anglers only. For more information on forest closures see Public Notices at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/Umpqua/alerts-notices.

The latest Umpqua North Complex Information can be found at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5505/


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