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Umpqua North Complex: 3 p.m. community meeting scheduled in Toketee

Umpqua North Complex, September 1, 2017. (Umpqua North Incident Management Team via Umpqua National Forest)

GLIDE, Ore. -- A community meeting for the Umpqua North Complex is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday, September 1, at the Toketee Ranger Station located on Hwy 138 at mile marker 60. Officials say the Ranger Station can only be accessed by the public from the east due to the road closure. (Note: A previous release from Incident Command stated the station was only accessible from the west. A later release corrected that statement.)

The North Umpqua Highway, Hwy 138E, remains closed from mile marker 47 to 54 due to trees and rocks falling onto the roadway. Fire managers, along with the Oregon Department of Transportation, are re-evaluating the risk along this stretch of road daily.

California Interagency Incident Management Team (Jay Kurth, Incident Commander) assumed command of managing the complex at 6 a.m. Friday.

The Umpqua North Complex consists of 15 fires which ignited after lightning moved through the area in early August. The fires will now be separated into east and west zones. The main fires are zoned as follows: Oak Knob, Brokentooth, Devils Canyon and Happy Dog south of Umpqua River/Calf Copeland are in the east zone and Ragged Ridge, Fall Creek and Happy Dog north of the Umpqua River/Calf Copeland are in the west zone.

Firefighters continue to construct indirect line utilizing road systems and natural barriers to contain fire spread.

A priority remains the Highway 138 corridor and firefighters are working to protect values at risk where they can do so safely and effectively. Values include watersheds, private property and adjoining communities, power lines, air quality, historic resources, federally protected species, and a nationally significant Scenic Byway.

Firefighters are utilizing tactical backfiring to tie the fire into Highway 138. Firefighters are working to mitigate secondary fire effects such as felling hazardous trees and needle cast to ensure that areas of past success do not cross containment lines.

A red flag warning is in effect for Saturday due to hot, dry conditions. Temperatures in the fire area will reach 100 degrees and remain hot and dry through the Labor Day weekend with low overnight humidity recovery. Smoke will continue to impact surrounding communities. The smoke inversion moderates fire behavior overnight, but as the day heats up the inversion lifts increasing fire behavior and in turn increasing smoke production.

Information on smoke can be found on the Oregon smoke blog at http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/. Douglas Public Health Network has information on local emergency preparedness services at http://douglaspublichealthnetwork.org/

Evacuations:

The evacuation level for the Side Creek area on Highway 138 East from Mile Marker 53 to Mile Marker 56 from Level 1 “Be Ready” to Level 2, “Be Set” effective at 1:00 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2017.

Level 1 Evacuation Notice “Be Ready” for the Clearwater area, along Highway 138 East from Mile Marker 56 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 “Be Set” for Slide Creek, Dry Creek and Illahee areas and Moore Hill Lane.

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.

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 Boulder Flat Raft Launch to Susan Creek Campground due to falling trees and rolling debris except for a short stretch of river near the Steamboat Inn that is open to fishing. For more information on forest closures see Public Notices at http://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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