Fire Update; Sunday, October 1, 2023

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Representative Court Boice

Fire Update; Sunday, October 1, 2023

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We’re very relieved and hoping this will be our last fire update - likely for the season.

Much more work to do in the Legislative years ahead – Oregon Catastrophic Fire Awareness, Prevention, Response, Suppression and Recovery!

Coos County – 0 Fires
Douglas County – 4 Fires pose no public threat at this time.
Curry County – 3 Fires pose little public threat at this time.

Oregon Timber Companies Are Huge Assets and Supports for Our Fire Fighters

Gold Beach, Oregon – Court Boice (R-House District 1) Boice stated, “Catastrophic Fires are devastating to our communities, especially in Southern Oregon. Local Timber companies throughout Oregon consistently coordinate with local Fire Fighter leadership to lend substantial aid in the form of personnel and equipment. Over the last 100-plus years, loggers have helped saved millions of priceless timberland acres by contributing staff members including loggers, road builders, foresters, and timber fellers. As the 2023 Fire Season has ended, I don’t want to lose another day without extending gratitude to our Oregon “good Steward” Timber Employers and Employees. No one loves or cares for the land more than our thousands of Tree Harvesting Industry Workers.”

2023 had been another very intense Fire Season which brought pressures on most of us. Thanks as well to our unheralded, overlooked, and underrated Timber Workers who hit their day tremendously early every morning. They understand that every garden harvested tree that goes to our mills is then a foundational post for community growth, public safety, our schools, a higher quality of life and better future for Oregonians. Boice concluded, “all generations have counted on them to provide this fabulous Pacific Northwest advantage. These unique individuals remain critical to our great Oregon comeback.”

9/30 Anvil Fire Update

Lee Riddle’s research – again unbeatable.

Day 38 - 22,069 acres - Start Date: August 25, 2023 - lightning - Containment: 40% - Total personnel: 1,098

Highlight: Forest closures remain in place. Recent precipitation across the forest allowed for the lifting of Public Use Restrictions, which allows campfires on areas of the forest that are not currently under a closure order. Lifting Public Use Restrictions for campfires does not rescind closure orders. Forest staff are working closely with fire managers daily to re-evaluate closures and look for opportunities to reopen them as soon as safely possible for both firefighters and the public.

As a result of the firefighters hard work, containment of the Anvil Fire increased to 40%. These gains were made on the south side of the fire along Elk Creek Road as well as the northernmost portion of the fire. Additional work was completed northwest of Grassy Knob. On the east side of the fire, a masticator chipped away along Forest Road 5502. Today, crews will continue to work to secure contingency lines near Grassy Knob. Progress is ongoing to increase containment along Elk River Road. Line construction on the west side of Hells Gate is estimated to be completed in the coming week. Even though rain fell on the fire throughout the week, it was not enough to put it out the fire. Heavy vegetation and downed timber will continue to smolder. Fuels will dry throughout next week to allow fire activity to increase enough to produce visible smoke in the area.

9/30 Smith River Complex North update

94,606 acres – Start Date: August 15, 2023 - lightning - Containment: 85% - Personnel: 841

Heavier than anticipated rainfall yesterday slowed fire resources across the Smith River Complex North and ultimately led to crews on the Brookings side standing down for most of the day due to safety concerns stemming from wet road systems. With sunny conditions returning today, however, resource advisors have deemed the ground stable enough to resume operations.

On the west side, there is approximately 1-2 operational shifts of suppression repair work remaining. Fire personnel will continue to clean up debris, process biomass and safely remove heavy equipment for demobilization.
On the east side, suppression repair work is completed on dozer line in the secondary control line area. Seeding operations will begin soon. Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team members are still assessing road systems and severely burned areas to determine emergency stabilization actions needed to prevent further damage to life, property and natural resources.

Downsizing efforts across the Smith River North Complex are ongoing as the Type 3 organization prepares to transfer management over to two local Type 4 incident commanders – one for each side of the Smith River Complex North.

Incident Commander Gavin Mitchell from Gold Beach Ranger District was briefed this morning and tomorrow will shadow the current organization before taking over management of operations Monday.

Monty Edwards will assume Incident Commander over remaining suppression repair work on the Wild Rivers Ranger District.

Closures remain in effect. Fire managers are continuing to meet regularly with Forest staff to re-evaluate current closures and look for opportunities to reopen them as soon as safely possible for both firefighters and the public. However, until those closures are lifted, it’s important to respect restrictions. Don’t access closed roads or go onto lands or trails within the closure area. The Closure Order for Smith River Complex North: Closures on BLM land are in place as well. Visit for additional information.

The BAER team’s Soil Burn Severity Assessment on the Smith River Complex

Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team specialists recently completed their field assessments of the Smith River Complex wildfires to better understand post-fire effects.

The BAER team’s soil burn severity (SBS) analysis was conducted across 92,347 acres of burned areas within the complex.

The BAER assessment team starts with data derived from satellite imagery, then adds field observations and collected data to produce a post-fire SBS map.
SBS map products are not an estimate of fire direct effects on vegetation, but rather an estimate of the fire effects to the soil.

Soil burn severity is a good indicator of post-fire processes, because it is sensitive to the conditions that promote erosion, floods,
debris flows and vegetation recovery. In general, low SBS occurs where surface organic layers are not completely consumed. Vegetation canopy and understory will often still appear “green.” These areas are at lower risk for post-fire accelerated runoff, erosion, flooding, and debris flows.

In areas with moderate SBS, much of the pre-fire ground cover is consumed.
Fine roots may be scorched but are rarely completely consumed.
These areas still have the potential for effective ground cover from scorched needles or leaves remaining in the canopy that will soon fall to the ground.
The prevailing color of the site is often “brown” due to canopy needle and other vegetation scorch. Where greater amounts of reduced soil cover and increased water repellency occur, increased overland flow of water from precipitation is expected, most notably in locations where the overstory canopy has been removed.

High SBS occurs where all or nearly all the pre-fire ground cover and surface organic matter are consumed, and charring may be visible on larger roots.
White or gray ash indicates that considerable ground cover or fuels were consumed. Sometimes very large tree roots are entirely burned extending from a charred stump hole. Soil is often gray, orange, or reddish where large fuels were concentrated and consumed. Bare soil or ash is exposed and susceptible to erosion, and overall structure may be less stable.

The BAER team estimated that approximately 51% of the Smith River Complex was either unburned/very low or low SBS, 34% was moderate and 15% was high SBS. Generally burned areas with high SBS are prone to post-fire impacts.
Rain events can cause excessive soil erosion, resulting in higher volumes of flooding, sediment delivery, and debris flows. These threats can individually or cumulatively increase the risk to human life and safety, property, infrastructure, and important critical natural and cultural resources.

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Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-382, Salem, Oregon 97301