Monday, August 24, 2015

Grizzly Bear Complex Daily Update 8/24/15 9:00 am

Grizzly Bear Complex Fire Crews Report Success Despite Weather and Logistical Challenges
     Elgin, Ore. – Firefighters had a good day yesterday on the 65,500 acre Grizzly Bear Complex Fire. Additional firefighters arrived on the incident, bring the total number of personnel to over 600. Crews are working long hours in hot weather and difficult conditions as they attempt to stop the spread of this fire. Small burn-out operations were successful overnight, reinforcing three and a half miles of containment lines.

On the east side of the fire, crews continued building direct line in the Grouse Flats area and south to Troy. Fire operations officials are optimistic that this containment line will hold as an anchor for stopping the advance of the fire in this area. Crews continue to prepare Forest Road 62 just outside the southern perimeter of the fire, where night-time burn-out operations have been successful. A road beyond the west end of the 62 Road has been identified as a potential contingency option. Meanwhile on the northern perimeter, a new base camp will be established at Ski Bluewood and a small command post is located in Dayton, Wash. Firefighters are preparing structures and improving Forest Road 4608 for a potential burn-out operation. Fire suppression activities continue on the Washington side of the fire, and while the general public isn’t threatened by the fire, people remain aware.

Firefighting operations are spread over a wide geographic area, presenting logistical and transportation challenges for the Incident Management Teams. Personnel and equipment are located at base camps and spike camps around the perimeter of the fire. A spike camp currently located in the Elk Meadow area will be relocated further away from the fire line as fire spread is a concern in this location.

Since the majority of fire has moved beyond the communities of Troy, Grouse Flats, and Eden Flats, the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office will be releasing one structure protection task force this morning and possibly one additional task force this afternoon. There will be two task forces working day shift in these areas today, and one for night shift. Representatives from OSFM will continue to complete damage assessments today of structures lost in those areas.

Public information meetings were held Sunday afternoon in Anatone, Wash., and Flora, Ore., with almost 300 community members in attendance. Incident commander Brian Gales remarked that he was humbled by the community response and gratified by the support the firefighters have received.

An active burning day is expected on Monday, as dry, hot weather conditions could result in a possible column forming by late afternoon. Humidity recoveries were low overnight, and fuel conditions are very dry, leading to a Red Flag Warning for the second straight day. The only missing ingredient to an extreme situation according to the fire behavior analyst is the wind, which will be lighter again today.

Due to the Red Flag Warning for today, Evacuation levels are expected to remain the same for communities impacted by the Grizzly Bear Complex fire.

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