Day 10 - Smith River Complex Fire and California-Oregon Fire Updates - Thursday 24, 2023

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Representative Court Boice


Good Day everyone:

Lots of info. for your review. Tough to responsibly communicate the deep concerns and stress levels of the current Wildland Fire Situation without overstating? The Smith River Complex is growing daily -rapidly – now close to 50,000 acres in just 10 days. Between Eureka and the California/Oregon border there are at least 50 fires. Both Cal Fire and Oregon Department of Forestry are doing an incredible job in this major fight! As a former Curry Commissioner – this is precisely where I was on both the 2017 Chetco Bar and 2018 Klondike Fires. Hoping and praying for the least amount of damage possible and that the fires don’t push North toward our Curry populated areas.


Curry County = 1Fire (Flat Fire): doing well – although lightning strikes predicted for this afternoon and evening – Coos County = 2 small fires and Douglas County = Currently 0 Fires!


    Fire Meeting: A few Legislators met yesterday morning very productive with Oregon State Fire Marshall Ruiz-Temple and OSFM Chief Medema, Oregon Department of Forestry Director Shaw, Governor’s Fire Response Leader Grafe and others so very committed to “putting the fires out”! ODF and our 9 Forest Protective Associations are is the best of the 14 Western U.S. States!


   Some Good News: To date, Oregon has had more than normal average number of fires at this point of the season, however – we are only at 6% OF THE 10 YEAR AVERAGE ACRES LOST – 3RD WEEK OF AUGUST. That is a remarkable statistic and a total tribute to the leadership we have in our State starting with the Governor. Also – noteworthy is the USFS change of Fire Fighting approaches-policies the last few years to Catastrophic Fires. The great teamwork in my view can not be highlighted enough. We still have at least 6 weeks to go and it is ‘one day at a time’ – Oregon is in very good hands!


Smith River Complex Fire Updates 8-23-23 (yesterday)…

Pushed by gusty winds, the Kelly Fire spread further north into the West Fork of the Illinois River valley yesterday. In response, local firefighters and resources from the Smith River Complex North concentrated on structure protection work around Lone Mountain and Elk, Blue, Dwight, and White Creeks. Protecting structures, powerlines, and resources along Hwy 199 are a high priority for this fire.

Heavy smoke continues to hamper aerial operations. Yesterday, smoke prevented helicopters from dropping water or retardant on the north edge of the Kelly Fire. The smoke also made it difficult to monitor the fire’s spread and exact location using aircraft. Winds from the north are expected today, which should reduce smoke along the north edge of the Kelly Fire. When the smoke lifts, aerial resources are ready to support firefighters on the ground.

Resources assigned to the Complex will assist with initial attack on fires within the Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) and on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Currently assigned resources include seven helicopters for the Complex, nine engines, four crews, and five pieces of heavy equipment for the North, with more on order.

With more resources arriving at the fire, the Smith River Complex North has added a night shift. These resources will be working overnight and monitoring the fire vicinity. They can respond quickly if there is an increase in fire activity. Del Norte County has issued a Level 3 evacuation notice from the Oregon/California border south. Specifics of this closure can be found at Josephine County has issued a Level 2 evacuation notice along Hwy 199 south of mile post 39 to the California border, and a Level 1 evacuation for the community of O’Brien south of Rough & Ready Creek. For more information and maps, visit the Rogue Valley Emergency Management site at The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has implemented an area and road closure order for the Smith River Complex. Visit the forest website for additional information

Cooperatively responding agencies include the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, the Oregon Department of Forestry, BLM-Coos Bay District, BLM-Medford District, Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, Josephine County EMS, the Illinois Valley Fire Department and Curry County Sheriff’s Office.

There will be a community meeting on Thursday, August 24 at 6:00 p.m. It will be held at the staging area across from 30159 Redwood Hwy, Cave Junction. The meeting will also be live-streamed on Facebook.

● Per Del Norte County OES - In coordination with Josephine County, we (Del Norte OES) is publishing Del Norte County's evacuation zones into their "Fire First Response Map". Please click the link below to view the map -

The Del Norte County Sheriff's Office has upgraded to Level 3 (GO NOW) for the Low Divide area at Highway 197 from Mile Marker 1 to Mile Marker 13 (which is the intersection of Low Divide Road with Rowdy Creek Road) due to current and expected fire behavior. There is a road closure in effect at the end of Rowdy Creek Road at the gravel pit.

Green Plane out of Sacto has been over flying all of the N Cali Fires 2:18 PM This is the only activity I have seen so far today…Right Screen Shot shows NOT ONE TANKER ACTIVE on the entire west coast @ 3 PM, just a few surveillance planes, a couple choppers…


Smith River Complex grows 15K acres in 24 hours as resources arrive daily - KOBI-TV NBC5   


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