Monday, August 3, 2015

Phillips Creek Fire Update August 3, 2015 3:00 pm

News Contact: Kathy Arnoldus, 541-975-4271
Joani Bosworth, 541-278-3722
August 3, 2015, 3:00 pm

Pendleton, OR: Hot, dry, and windy weather conditions continue to influence fire behavior
on the Phillips Creek Fire, burning seven miles northwest of Elgin, Oregon near Indian
Point. The fire has burned an estimated 1,100 acres of brush, grass, slash and heavy timber
predominantly in the Phillips Creek drainage on the Umatilla National Forest and on adjacent
private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Extreme fire behavior with some long range spotting up to ½ mile ahead of the main fire and
wind driven runs with fire moving through the tops of some of the trees attributed to the fire’s
growth yesterday. The fire also made downhill runs, spreading to the south and southeast along
the north side of the Phillips Creek Road and spotting on the south side of the Phillips Creek Road.
The fire is 0% contained and the cause is under investigation.

Firefighters conducted night shift activities to capitalize on cooler temperatures and higher humidity;
they worked to suppress spot fires along FS Road 3740, in the southwest portion of the fire, north of
Bailey Creek.

Today, firefighters plan to continue to work along the flanks of the fire, starting on the north end near the junction of FS Roads 3738 and 3740. They will be constructing fire line on the east side of the fire by Middle Ridge, and on the northwest portion of the fire near Indian Point. Crews have also begun constructing fire line on the south end of the fire, north of Bailey Creek. In other areas of the fire perimeter crews will be scouting fire line locations and searching for spot fires.

The Oregon Department of Forestry, Union County Emergency Management, Fire Departments in Union County, and numerous other agencies are working in cooperation with the Umatilla National Forest.

Union County officials have issued a Level I evacuation notice for residents of Ruckle Road and Sanderson Springs Road, west of Elgin. A Level I evacuation notice means residents should be READY to leave their homes at a moment’s notice. Questions regarding evacuation notices and the evacuation process can be directed to the Emergency Operation Center at 541-963-1049.

Road closures have been expanded for public and firefighter safety and include:
• Forest Road 3738 (Phillips Creek Road) from its junction with Forest Road 3100 (Summit Road) to State Highway 204.
• Forest Road 3148 from its junction with Forest Road 3100 (Summit Road) to its end.
• Forest Roads 3148-010 and 3148-900 from their junction with Forest Road 3148 to their end.
• Forest Road 3740 from its junction with Forest Road 3738 to the forest boundary.
• Forest Roads 3740-020, 3740-025, 3740-030, 3740-040, and 3740-050.
• New: Forest Road 3734 from its junction with State Highway 204 to its end.
• New: Forest Road 3200 from its junction with Forest Road 3100 (Summit Road) to the forest boundary.
• New: Forest Road 3217 from its junction with Forest Road 3200 to its end.
• New: Forest Road 3100-035.
• New: County Roads: Sanderson Springs and Ruckle Roads west of Elgin; except to resident travel.

State Highway 204 remains open at this time though travelers should consider alternate routes.

A Type 2 Incident Management Team, led by Incident Commander Brett Fillis, will assume management of the fire Tuesday Morning. An Incident Command Post (ICP) has been set up at the Elgin Stampede Rodeo Grounds. Interagency resources on scene Sunday included Air Attack, multiple helicopter and air tanker support, eight Type 2 Initial Attack crews, 13 engines, seven water tenders and overhead support. Over 300 firefighters and other personnel are assigned to the fire and additional resources are on order.

Smoke continues to be an issue in the Grande Ronde Valley and surrounding communities. To monitor the air quality index, the public can access the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s website at

The fire danger rating has increased to EXTREME and Public Use Restrictions involving campfires and chainsaw use are in effect. For more information about the Umatilla National Forest’s Public Use Restrictions, please contact any forest office, call our Forest Information hotline at 1-877-958-9663, or visit our website at or on the Blue Mountain Fire Information BlogSpot at

Regulated closures are in effect on State and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in northeast and central Oregon. Please check with your local Oregon Department of Forestry office for public use restrictions on lands protected by ODF. Visit the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch webpage at: or contact a local Oregon Department of Forestry office for more complete information. Similar restrictions may be in effect on State and private lands protected by the Washington Department of

Natural Resources (WA-DNR). More information can be found on the WA-DNR website at:

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