9:00 am Monday update – fire 78,425 acres, 92% contained; Biggs, Rufus, Wasco, Moro and Grass Valley evacuations lifted completely, Kent stays at Level 1

4:30 am Monday July 23

Areas blackened by Substation fire. BLM photo.

Monday 9:30 am 

The towns of Biggs, Rufus, Wasco, Moro and Grass Valley have since been downgraded to a zero, while Kent remain at level one, the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office announced on Facebook Sunday evening.


Sunday 9:39 pm Inciweb report

Size: 78,425 acres

Containment: 92%

A return to hot and very dry conditions will return this week. Temperatures will climb into the 90s and the relative humidity will be in will be in the teens during the afternoon. Light winds are expected on Monday, but breezy winds are forecast last Tuesday and Wednesday.

News release from Sunday 10:22 am

More accurate mapping shows that the Substation Fire covered 79,121 acres. Containment reached 82% by Saturday evening. Fire behavior was minimal, with some smoldering in hotspots in Deschutes River corridor and Eight-Mile Canyon. The Oregon State Fire Marshall Red Team is demobilizing today.

The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office have reduced the evacuation levels for all areas to Level 1. More information about the Ready, Set, Go preparation program can be found at http://www.wildlandfirersg.org

Crews will continue their work to reinforce and overhaul containment lines as they ensure areas are cool to the touch for a distance of 150 feet from the fire edge or any structures. Within the perimeter of the fire, and especially in the burned area in the Deschutes River Canyon, smoke in the interior of the burn may be present and visible for multiple days.

Access to the Deschutes River is open. However, boaters should use caution and may have to pull off in areas that have recently burned if they plan to camp between Macks Canyon and Heritage Landing. Black areas may still have hot spots, dangerous stump holes or rolling material. Use caution when setting up camp. Avoid standing trees and snags in recently burned areas that may be weakened by the fire and are at risk of falling.

It is extremely dry across the region – just one spark can start a major fire. Avoid parking in dry grass, discard cigarette butts in closed containers and be aware of local restrictions on campfires or fire use. Sparks from vehicles and other mechanical and motorized equipment (dragging chains and tie-downs, failed bearings, flat tires, catalytic converter failure, worn brake pads, hot exhaust systems) are a leading cause of human-caused wildfires.

Percent contained: 82% Total personnel: 263 firefighters Fire size: 79,121 acres

Photo taken by fire crews i Sherman County. Used by permission.


Key detail from the morning press conference : Grass Valley and Moro are dropped from Level 3 to Level 2 evacuation notice.  You can hear the complete press conference by clicking on the grey podcast bar below



Although gusty winds and uphill fire runs fanned the Substation Fire to 70,421 acres, crews made progress on Thursday, reaching 15% containment by the end of the day.  Handcrews, air resources, and heavy equipment continued working to mitigate the fire’s spread and reinforce containment lines, while engines and structural firefighters implemented point protection tactics to protect structures.

Significant winds are forecasted over the weekend; hot and dry conditions will continue.  Evacuation notices remain in effect.  Firefighters on the ground, supported by air resources, made progress that allowed the evacuation levels for Biggs, Moro, and Grass Valley to be reduced from Level 3 (GO) to Level 2 (Set).  All residents and persons planning to travel to the area should check for the latest information regarding possible closures of roads and other areas, including Deschutes River access.  The potential for reduced visibility due to smoky conditions poses an ongoing hazard, drivers are advised to keep their lights on and increase following distances.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in effect for the airspace above the fire.  This includes a prohibition on personal drones or radio-controlled aircraft that can interfere with firefighting operations.  Remember – “If you fly, we can’t!”

Additional resources arrived throughout the day, bringing the total number of personnel to 278.  Today, crews will continue to focus on minimizing risk to the community, protecting agricultural resources, and transitioning as possible to evaluation of fire damage.  Management of the fire was transitioned to the Pacific Northwest National Incident Management Team in the early afternoon.

Across the region, fuels are extremely dry and you have a critical role in fire prevention.  Avoid parking in dry grass, discard cigarette butts in closed containers and be aware of local restrictions on campfires or fire use.

Total personnel: 278 Firefighters

Evacuations: 1,165 homes in evacuation status

Size of fire: 70,421


6:30 am Friday

Key details in this morning’s briefing: The substation fire is now 70,000 acres, at 15 percent containment. Because the weather is expected to stay windy over the weekend, the only change in current evacuation levels is to lower Biggs to level 2, which allowed gas stations to reopen. You can hear this morning’s briefing by clicking on the grey podcast bar below:

4:00 am Friday

From the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office: At around 12am, there was a fire near Monkland and Fairview. Farmers and fire crews extinguished it quickly despite 20mph + winds. The cause is under investigation. If you see something suspicious, vehicle or person, please take a picture and contact law enforcement.

The 24 hour dispatch phone number for the shelter of the fire evacuees is 888-680-1455. Call this number if you are wanting to see if your family member or friend is in the shelter.

During a press conference Thursday morning, when asked about the cause of the Substation Fire, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown told a reporter, “clearly, you’re hearing there is a likelihood of arson, and our agencies are going to help in that investigation.” In the afternoon briefing, Wasco County Sheriff Lane Magill referred to it as a “criminal investigation.”

Click on the grey podcast bar below to hear the Thursday evening fire update:

Substation Fire Thursday Evening Press Release:

Substation Fire Now Number One Fire in the Nation; Additional Resources Added

MORO, OR – July 19, 2018 – Day 3 of the Substation Fire brought high winds, with gusts up to 35-40 mph, making it a challenging day for firefighters.

The winds gave way to growth at the south end of the fire, near Deschutes river canyon, impacting both agricultural and wildland areas. Significant air assets continue to be used throughout the incident, in addition to dozers that helped firefighters make progress towards containment.

The Substation Fire is now considered the number one fire in the nation. Additional resources arrived Thursday afternoon in the form of a Pacific Northwest incident management team. These 60 team members add greater depth to the operational forces currently employed on the fire and will assist in managing all aspects of the fire. The additional resources complement the 217 firefighters, who represent 73 fire agencies across the state, currently assigned to the fire.

The Oregon National Guard has been activated to assist the Oregon Department of Forestry with wildfire suppression efforts following Governor Kate Brown’s statewide wildfire emergency declaration on July 18, 2018. These assets include two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and two HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters equipped with Bambi water buckets.

Other air tankers known as “Super Scoopers” and “Fire Bosses” that can drop hundreds and thousands of gallons of water continue to be used, as well as single-engine air tankers that can disperse fire retardant. Aircraft in this fuel type are very useful; they can provide heavy drops on canyon ridges and precision attacks in steeper terrain.

Evacuation levels have been very fluid. Law enforcement and fire officials appreciate the community’s understanding and responsiveness regarding evacuations. Fire officials are working closely with the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and Sherman County Sheriff’s Office to continually evaluate the risk to communities. Level 3 (“Go”) evacuations continue to be in place for Moro and Grass Valley. The communities of Wasco and Kent remain under Level 2 evacuation. Area residents are urged to heed local emergency notifications as well as check the local sheriff’s office Facebook page and the Substation Fire Facebook page (www.facebook.com/substationfire2018) for updates.

Segments 3 and 4 of the lower Deschutes River remain closed.

The American Red Cross shelter at The Dalles Middle School at 1100 E. 12th St remains available to residents impacted by the fire. In addition to sleeping accommodations, the shelter is a resource for meals, community updates, and a cool place to get out of the heat and smokey conditions.

Locally, smoke is in the moderate to unhealthy range. Sensitive groups, such as those with asthma, chronic respiratory disease or cardiovascular disease, are encouraged to avoid smoke exposure, reduce time spent outdoors and avoid strenuous activity during smoky conditions.

10:00 am Thursday

ODOT has announced that Highway 97 has reopened from Biggs to the junction with Highway 197, and Highway 30, which had been closed between Rufus and Biggs, also reopened.

9:30 am Thursday

The Sherman County Sheriff’s Office reported on its website:  “At 7:45 am emergency crews responded to Deschutes State Park as the Fire was threatening it.”

To hear the audio recording of the 9 am press conference, click on the grey podcast bar below the map:

Main news – no new figures for size of fire, no change in evacuation levels,  no containment at this point, concerns the wind will be high and humidity low again today, additional crews on their way, and bulldozers have arrived, which will help in building fire lines.

4:00 am Thursday

ODOT: Central Ore.: US97 will remain closed from milepost 1 (intersection with I-84) to milepost 67 (intersection with US197) due to wildfire at least until Thursday morning. Motorists advised to find alternative route.

Moro, OR – July 18, 2018 – The Substation Fire started southeast of The Dalles on Tuesday afternoon and moved further east today. Firefighters saw heightened activity on the north and the south end of the fire. More than 50,000 acres in Sherman and Wasco Counties are affected.

Level 3 evacuations (“Go”) increased to include Moro; level 2 evacuations (“Be Set”) grew to include the community of Wasco, south to the community of Kent and several miles east. More than 900 homes are in the Level 2 and level 3 areas. A Red Cross shelter is open at The Dalles Middle School at 1100 E. 12th St in The Dalles.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing threat of wildfire and increasing wildfire activity. The declaration makes available resources from around the state, and from outside of Oregon if necessary.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 178 firefighters from 32 agencies across Oregon are focused on protecting structures in the line of the fire. Additional resources continue to arrive from around the state.

A wide variety of flying air tankers have been deployed to fight the Substation Fire. These include:

* Two 750-gallon capacity “Fire Bosses”

* Two ”Super Scooper” air tankers, capable of which are “scooping” 12,000 gallons of water from the Columbia River to drop on the fire

* A heavy air tanker which drops retardant on the fire

* Two Type-2 helicopters

*A VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker), which can carry 12,000 gallons of water, was also deployed.

“I saw neighbors helping neighbors and firefighters going the extra mile to bring this fire under control,” said Public Information Officer Damon Simmons. “While these fires are awful, they show the true spirit of the local residents and Oregonians in general.” Hwy 97 has been closed intermittently. Travelers are advised to check ODOT TripCheck for up-to-date information.

The Wasco Co. Sheriff’s Office confirmed one civilian fatality as a result of exposure to the fire.

A hotline for Substation Fire information has been established: 503-597-8076. Additional information is available here at https://www.facebook.com/SubstationFire2018/


The Wasco County Emergency Operations Center has established an information line for people to call. The number is 541-506-2792.

The following Level 1, 2 and 3 evacuations for Sherman County are as follows…

South of Gordon Ridge Rd from the Deschutes River, east to Hwy 97 and south to King Lane, South along Sayers Rd to Payne Loop is a Level 3. The Towns of Grass Valley and Moro are Level 2.

North of Gordon Ridge Rd to Interstate 84 and HWY 206, east to Hwy 97 and south along Henrichs, Doumand and Lone Rock Rd, and south to Rutledge Lane, as well as the area further south between Finnegan Rd to the Deschutes River is a Level 2.

The area east of HWY 97 to Hwy 206, and south to Fairview Rd is a Level 1.

9:50 evacuation map showing levels

9:00 am


Shearer’s Falls to Macks Canyon is at Level 3 (GET OUT). Patrol Units will be in the area to notify campers and boaters.

8:40 am Areas west of Grass Valley and Moro are LEVEL 3. (This means GO!)
Moro and Grass Valley are LEVEL 2 inside the city limits.
Kent is level 1.
Fire is now 30,000 acres.

7:40 am.Forest Service officials have confirmed the fire is now at 29,000 acres.  This morning, Gov. Kate Brown issued a conflagration declaration for the Substation Fire. The Conflagration Act authorizes the Oregon State Fire Marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment around the state to assist local resources battling the fire.

Evacuation levels unchanged. Fire officials planning a press conference later this morning.

The Office of State Fire Marshal Red Incident Management Team, along with structural resources from Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, and Central Oregon counties, are en route to the fire.

4:20 am The Substation fire blew up overnight to more than 20,000 acres and headed north in Wasco County.

Sheriff Magill added Level 3 GO NOW evacuation orders for everyone on Fifteen Mile Rd, McCoy Rd, Moody Rd, Fulton Rd, Kloan Rd, Freebridge Rd, Kelly Cutoff Rd, and all points in between as well as all previously issued level 3 evacuations.

At least one home and outbuildings have been lost to the flames.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at The Dalles Middle School. Home At Last has said it will take in dogs and cats for free and the Fort Dalles Riders Club can help take care of other animals.

The fire also jumped the Deschutes into Sherman County near Sayers Road and Sheriff Lohrey has issued Level 1 Be Ready evacuation orders for Grass Valley and for the county seat at Moro and surrounding areas. Sheriff Lohrey has said he will have an evacuation update around 8 o’clock this morning.

According to the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, crews were able to put out a fire in the Tygh Valley area of Shadybrook and Badger Creek.

7:15 Reporting an unidentified number of structures lost and others threatened

6:50 the fire near The Dalles is now called the Substation Fire, estimated at 1,500 to 2,000 acres. Mandatory Level 3 Go Now evacuations still in place.

6:00 pm local fire officials are calling for state assistance as fire has reached residences in the area. Please side on caution in the area and prepare to evacuate if needed.

They have also asked for structural protection units from four Klickitat County Districts and a task force from Hood River County to help them with protection near the Auction Yard.

The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office has called for mandatory Level 3 GO NOW evacuations for 8 Mile Rd at Emerson Loop Rd to Emerson Loop Rd and Company Hollow Rd.

As of 5:30 added all of Wrentham Market Road and Mason Road GO NOW

Current Updates (North, Hwy 197 Fire)
Hwy 197 is open at this time. Travel with caution.

Level 3 (go now) evacuations are ordered for 8 Mile Rd at Emerson Loop Rd to Emerson Loop Rd and Company Hollow Rd. If you fall inside of those boundaries then evacuate to safely now.

Current Updates (South, Shadybrook Rd area)
Wasco Electric is advised of a power outage in the area. Please check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or disabled. Fire apparatus on scene. A large youth group has been evacuated from the fairgrounds to Maupin Grade School safely. No other evacuations at this time.

Please keep the 911 lines open for EMERGENCIES ONLY.