Pole Creek Fire Update
September 17, 2012
Pole Creek Fire Update
Photo by Lara Matthews, Western Images & Art
A strong inversion kept smoke low to the ground for most of the day, which permeated several surrounding communities, including Sisters. Smoky conditions are expected to remain in the area for the next few days due to a temperature inversion over the fire.
During the day, the fire remained active with some short range spotting but experienced little growth. Fire crews took advantage of the favorable weather conditions to reinforce current lines, establish new ones and begin contingency lines. Work was focused on the NW, S and E sides of the fire, adding eight miles of new fire line. Tonight, crews will focus on reinforcing and extending fire lines and burn-out where conditions allow.
Fire officials are holding a community meeting tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at Sisters Elementary School, located at 611 East Cascades Avenue, Sisters, Oregon. The meeting will provide interested community members with an in-depth update the Pole Creek fire.
Residents in the Crossroads and Edgington/Remuda areas remain under a Level 2, pre-evacuation alert (west of the 16 Road and South of Highway 20 in the vicinity of Sisters):
Level 2 alerts signifies that dangerous conditions exist - be prepared to leave at a moment's notice, persons with special needs or in need of assistance should be moved at this time and large animals should be moved at this time. Public safety agencies will keep the public updated about when to leave and which routes to take.
In the event that there is a need for evacuation, citizens in affected areas will receive a call from 911 Dispatch with a recorded message with specific evacuation information. To receive these messages on cell phones, citizens are encouraged to visit http://www.deschutes.org//citizensalerts and register their numbers with the Citizen Alert program. At this time, there are no towns, subdivisions or structures under evacuation.
Smoke is expected to remain in the greater Sisters area for the next several days. For more information, visit the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) at http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/wildfires/index.htm.
For firefighter and public safety, the current closure area includes the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) between Trail #3531and the PCT Trailhead on Highway 242. PCT hikers have a reroute option using the Scott Trail traveling west to Highway 242. The closure still includes Forest Roads 15 & 16 (Three Creeks Rd) south to FS 4601 Road. Maps and descriptions are available at Forest Service offices and at http://inciweb.org.
Estimated Acreage: 16,000 acres
Cause: Unknown - Under Investigation
Total - 1,101
Type 1 Crews - 4 Dozers - 10 Water Tenders - 16 Helicopters - 8
Type 2 Crews - 25 Engines - 43 Camp Crews - 2 Overhead - 322
Continue with primary line preparation and contingency line preparation on the NW, E, and SE sides of fires while holding and mopping up existing lines.
Fire Weather Forecast
Tonight: Temperatures 38 - 45, humidity 40-50%, and winds from the E to NE at 4-9 mph.
Forecasted: Warmer temperatures with lower humidity are expected over the next several days.
Western Oregon Air Quality
Smoke from Pole Creek fire is visible locally and residents are urged to keep an eye on air quality. Smoke from the Pole Creek fire near Sisters drifted into the upper elevations of the McKenzie and Willamette valleys again this morning. The fire grew over the weekend and is still only 10% contained. The smoke is clearly visible, however air quality at ground level is still in the good category. Residents in the Eugene, Springfield, and Cottage Grove areas are encouraged to keep an eye on air quality today.
“After a strong onshore flow kept the area clear of smoke over the weekend, winds shifted overnight, pushing smoke over to the west side of the Cascades” said Sally Markos, spokesperson for the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA). LRAPA’s air quality monitors in downtown Springfield, south Eugene, and Cottage Grove are currently recording air quality in the good range, but that could change. The National Weather Service is forecasting southwest winds for tomorrow, which should clear the smoke out of the valley. The possibility of periodic smoke intrusions will continue until the fire is full contained.
Air quality in the valley may be impacted depending on conditions. Residents sensitive to smoke pollution should take precautions if air quality deteriorates. The public can track hourly particulate levels and the Air Quality Index by logging onto the LRAPA website at http://www.LRAPA.org.
McKenzie River Reflections