Skip to comments.Oregon Coastal air helps slow advance of western flank of Biscuit Fire, giving residents hope
Posted on 08/14/2002 8:51:30 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
Coastal air helps slow advance of western flank of Biscuit Fire, giving residents hope
By JEFF BARNARD, The Associated Press, 8/14/02 3:44 AM
BROOKINGS, Ore. -- Hot weather made life miserable for firefighters on the eastern flanks of the Biscuit fire, but moist marine air on the western side helped a small outback subdivision under an evacuation advisory.
"I don't think it will get here," Incident Commander Kim Martin said Tuesday while briefing a dozen residents of the Wilderness Retreat subdivision, located about 12 miles east of Brookings on the Chetco River. They stood in the shade of some fir trees and looked at a map of the fire burning on about 380,000 acres of the Siskiyou National Forest and adjacent lands in southwestern Oregon and northern California.
"I believe him," said Mark Steele, a highway flagger and woodcutter who has moved most of his furniture and other belongings out of his home. "Hopefully, the lines will hold."
The fire has been burning for a month since a lighting strike ignited it deep in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. With 6,300 people assembled from around the country, as well as Canada, New Zealand and Australia, the fire has cost $52,450,000 to fight so far.
The fire was 26 percent contained, with the most secure lines on the eastern and southern flanks. The threat to the 17,000 residents of the Illinois Valley continued to diminish, but an evacuation notice remained in effect warning people to be ready to leave.
Firefighters suffered through temperatures over 100 degrees on the eastern and northern flanks of the fire, where the fire moved up Indigo Creek closer to Bear Camp Road, the primary shuttle route for whitewater rafters on the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River.
"The heat makes it hard for the firefighters to work," said fire spokesman Tom Valluzzi. "They've got to carry twice as much water and take twice as many breaks. It's miserable."
On the northwestern flank, the fire slopped over containment lines and burned down the historical Snow Camp Mountain Lookout. Martin said a falling ember got inside the fireproof aluminum-coated fabric wrapped around the one-room structure to protect it.
"An era has passed," said fire spokeswoman Susan Mathison. "This is a great loss to the Siskiyou National Forest."
The mountaintop overlooking the Pistol River and the Kalmiopsis Wilderness was first used to spot fires in 1924, and a lookout stationed there during World War II witnessed a Japanese airplane that had been launched from a submarine drop a bomb in a failed attempt to ignite a forest fire. The most recent structure was built in 1959, and retired from service in 1972. It has been rented out to the public since 1990 and was the subject of a book.
On the northern edge of the fire, the Rogue River Canyon hamlet of Agness remained on evacuation alert, but the fire was still several miles away, Mathison said.
Now that firefighters are ready to begin burning out the network of logging roads, bulldozer lines and ridgetops standing in the way of the fire's western edge, the marine air has made ignition more difficult, just as similar conditions did last week on the eastern flank, Martin said. Hotshot crews setting the burnout fires have turned from working at night to working in daylight, when the fires will ignite more easily.
"We don't have this line totally secure yet," Martin said. "We haven't done any burnout."
Elsewhere, the Tiller complex of fires east of Roseburg, burning over 44,000 acres, remained a big concern to firefighters. It was about 40 percent contained.
HOMEEVACUATIONS AND CLOSURES
|The evacuation notice for the entire Illinois Valley has been downgraded from an 8 hour notice to 12 hours.
The Curry County Sheriff has issued a pre-evacuation notice for residents of Agness, Illahe, Oak Flats north of the fire and the Wilderness Retreat areas northeast of Brookings and the Gardner Ranch area in the upper Pistol River drainage. Residents should be prepared to evacuate if notified.
The Rogue River is currently open and no closures are in effect. However, officials are alerting all river users of the possible closure between Graves Creek and Agness if the fire continues to move toward the river. Click here for more information on road and trail closures. www.or.blm.gov/medford
Residents of the northern California community of Gasquet were notified to evacuate late Thursday, August 8th. The evacuation notice was lifted Saturday, August 10.
Not to mention the millions of fish that will die from erosion this year.
Lat: 42° 24' 46"
Long: 123° 52' 14"
Date of Origin: 7/13/02, reported at 12 AM
Size: 390,276 acres
Containment Date: None Estimated
Towns of Cave Junction, Kerby, Selma, Agness, Gardner Ranch, Brookings and adjacent areas.
Private inholdings east of McCaleb Ranch.
Power line serving Gasquet, Hiouchi, Crescent City, and Klamath.
Industrial timberlands and Late- Successional Reserves.
Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive fish, plants and animals.
Illinois, Rogue, and Smith National Wild and Scenic Rivers.
North Fork Smith Botanical Area and Port Orford Cedars.
Injuries: 2 broken ankles, 1 bee sting reaction, and cases of heat exhaustion have been reported.
Type I: 49
Type II: 125
Camp Crews: 23
Type I: 16
Type II: 12
Cost to Date: $56,400,000
Observed Fire Behavior:
Zone I: The fire continues to advance up Indigo Creek on the north end. It is predicted to reach Bear Camp Road no earlier than Monday, August 19th. Interior islands are actively burning. The fire is becoming more active in the northern most portion.
Zone 2: The fire activity was low due to containment lines keeping the fire from getting into new fuel sources. The fire was smoldering with moderate fire activity and occasional torching within the unburned interior.
Zone 3: The fire continues to back down-slope on the west side to the Chetco River. With the air clearing slightly, the fire activity increased.
Zone 4: There was moderate to extreme fire behavior throughout the day. The zone continued to experience spotting due to the afternoon weather conditions, steep terrain, and heavy fuels.
Current Weather Conditions: Wednesday
Wind Speed: 2-15 MPH
Wind Direction: Variable
Relative Humidity: 12-22%
Freedom Is Worth Fighting For !!
Molon Labe !!
The air quality warnings mean that state officials expect high temperatures and low-level winds, which mix with auto exhaust and other pollutants to create high levels of smog."
Lars Larson proved today that this orange alert should not have been issued. The air quality here was fine (we actually had a "green" day) and they knew it would be fine by 7 AM yesterday morning. This was just another lie to get people to ride the bus and lightrail, make the asthmatics worry, and to add credance to their claim that we need to "get out of our cars". Pffft!
Great bump, EBUCK!
full text @ Disaster News Network: Current News
CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. (August 14, 2002)
What's being called the biggest fire in Oregon's history is slowly growing. The Biscuit Fire -- in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness area of the Kiskiyou National Forest -- grew 17,411 acres since Tuesday. The flames were sparked July 13 by lightning.
The really odd thing about it is the air is SO horrible down here and I don't think they've called it an "orange day yet. People are suffering. The birds are all gone. I hate it.
Fire on the left, Fire on the Right! Stuck in the middle with Andy the Kerr. I'll quit now, before I'm in trouble.
I would ask anyone from Ashland to post information, but I doubt a single FReeper resides in the liberal cess pool.
Well, you don't have a bazillion dollars worth of almost useless public transportation, and your local government doesn't have a goofy agenda that they want to impose on everyone. Nope...all you have is a huge fire that is as bad as it is because of this goofy agenda.
That lady was weird, wasn't she?
Take care of yourself, AuntB. I'm keeping all of you down there in my prayers.
Stop the attacks by the wacko, extreme left-wing, enviro-nazis terrorist's on our Freedoms !!
Freedom Is Worth Fighting For !!
Molon Labe !!
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