Mosier Creek Fire 8/19 Update

Wednesday 8/19 Report:

MOSIER, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 1, working under Incident Commander Joe Hessel has been managing the Mosier Creek Fire since the transfer of command at 6:00 p.m. on August 13th. Over the last few days, crews have worked diligently to ensure that control lines are secure. The mop-up standards state that all sources of heat and smoke within 300’ of the fire line will be mopped up. These mop-up standards have also been applied to homes and structures that were affected by the fire.

The transfer of command back to The Dalles Unit of Oregon Department of Forestry occurred at 7:00 a.m. this morning. There will continue to be firefighters working in the area to complete further tasks in the mopping up process. Remember, this is still an active fire area and heavy equipment and periods of heavy traffic should be expected. ODF asks the public to refrain from visiting the area. Fire weakened trees and hot ash pits can be hazardous.

The Central Oregon District will continue to disseminate information as needed for the Mosier Creek Incident.

The Incident Management Team would like to the thank the communities throughout the Columbia River Gorge for their welcoming attitudes and assistance through the course of the incident. The support that was shown to firefighters and command post personnel was greatly appreciated.

Tuesday 8/18 Report:

MOSIER, Ore. – Yesterday afternoon ODF Incident Management Team 1, which is now in sole command of the Mosier Creek Fire, sent resources to help with a new fire reported south of Hood River near Odell, about 6 miles west of the Mosier Creek Fire. Five engines, one hand crew and four

helicopters (Types 1, 2 and 3) along with a division supervisor were sent. The coordinated attack with local cooperators was a major success, stopping the new fire at 1.6 acres.

Today, firefighters will continue working on mopping-up on the Mosier Creek Fire. The Wasco County Sheriff has lifted Level 3 (Go!) evacuations entirely for this fire. However, the general public should avoid the area burned by the fire unless absolutely necessary as there will be ongoing firefighting traffic.

Some roads are restricted to local access only. Fire-weakened trees and burned roots covered by dust or ash might also still be hot enough to cause harm.

On Wednesday, ODF’s Incident Management Team 1 will transfer command of the Mosier Creek Fire back to The Dalles Unit of ODF’s Central Oregon District. Several local resources will continue to patrol and monitor the fire. People may see occasional smoke from the interior of the fire.

Having completed their structure protection work, the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s IMT and the remaining structural Task Forces demobilized yesterday and returned structure responsibilities to local fire authorities. Their final assessment: 8 residences were destroyed along with 28 other structures.

Across much of Oregon fire danger continues at its highest level. Temperatures well into the 90s and above have left brush, grass and trees parched. Dried leaves are falling, adding to combustible fuels on the ground.

Monday 8/17 Report:

MOSIER, Ore. – Crews worked to achieve the 200’ mop-up marker from containment line to the interior of the fire. Today, firefighters have set the goal of reaching the 300’ mop-up marker.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal IMT and the remaining Task Forces demobilize today and will release the delegation of structure responsibilities to local fire authorities. ODF will continue to manage the Mosier Creek Fire.

Sunday 8/16 Report:

MOSIER, Ore. –Last night, Mosier Creek Fire crews worked on interior pockets of unburnt fuel within the fire line and continued to fortify the line. Containment increased to 45%.

Today is an active weather day. Red flag warnings for thunderstorms have been issued across the region. High temperatures, gusty winds and potential lightning are possible.

Current evacuation information can be found at: https://www.co.wasco.or.us/department/sheriff https://facebook.com/WascoCountySheriff/

ODF and OSFM are in unified command.  As risks to structures diminish, OSFM will begin planning the transition of structure crews back to their home agencies. ODF will continue to manage the fire after OSFM demobilizes.

We appreciate the gratitude expressed by the community but ask that community members not enter fire camp. Placing signs on the fence around the camp is appropriate.

Saturday 8/15 Report:

MOSIER, Ore. – Fire personnel continue to reinforce the perimeter of the Mosier Creek Fire. Over the past 24 hours there has been minimal fire growth. The fire is 985 acres and 30% contained.

Large equipment, air resources and firefighters are in and around the fire area. Public and firefighter safety is our priority. We want to remind the community this is an active firefighting operation. Please choose alternative driving routes and do not enter the area.

On 8/14/20, OSFM/ODF completed the first assessment of structures affected by the Mosier Creek fire. From the outset of the fire, 11 single family residences, 2 commercial properties and 18 outbuildings were destroyed. An outbuilding was also damaged. Two residences and the commercial properties were uninhabited.

The loss of a home during a fire is a tragedy. Thankfully, Wasco County’s evacuation system worked effectively. There have been no injuries or fatalities at this time.

To receive evacuation alerts from Wasco County, you can sign up for reverse 911 at: https://member.everbridge.net/453003085612392/login

ODF and OSFM are in unified command. As risks to structures diminish, OSFM will begin planning the transition of structure crews back to their home agencies. ODF will continue to manage the fire after OSFM demobilizes.

Today at 4 p.m., we are hosting a virtual Community Meeting. Local and state fire officials and community leaders will share fire updates and answer questions. A virtual meeting allows the IMTs to follow COVID Best Practices while also providing information to the public. To join the meeting, please go to: https://www.facebook.com/mosiercreekfire2020/

The meeting will be simultaneously translated into Spanish with instructions at the start of the meeting.

Friday 8/14 Report:

MOSIER, Ore. – Last night, the Mosier Creek Fire had little movement and crews were supported with lower winds and cooler temperatures. An infrared flight was completed and the total acreage was updated to 971 acres.

Oregon Department of Forestry crews and Oregon State Fire Marshal crews worked to enhance established fire lines and patrolled the line through the evening.

“Our footprint stayed constant, due to the great work on night shift. Today is our first full day shift and the goal is to improve the line,” said Joe Hessel, ODF IMT 1 Incident Commander.

Fire crews will begin laying hose lines to the fire (aka “plumbing the fire) to support mop up and suppression operations. Structure crews from OSFM will begin residential and commercial structural assessments for damage, while also providing ongoing structure protection.

Extreme weather will be a factor over the next three days. Temperatures are expected to reach mid 90s today and 100 degrees by the weekend. The area will see less humidity but slower winds today. Heavy fuels and pockets of unburned fuel could be factors for fire crews today.

The health and safety of Gorge communities and fire crews is a critically important piece of our mission. Our best management practices include a zero-tolerance policy for proper COVID-19 PPE, proper distancing and minimizing our physical interactions within the community.

The number of threatened structures was initially released as approximately 900. Day-shift work on 8/13/20 supplied an updated number of 565.

The fire burned two residential structures on August 12, 2020 during initial attack.

The Red Cross has set-up a shelter for homeowners affected by the fire. To make emergency arrangements call 541-670-9093.

Thursday 8/13 Report:

High winds and low humidity helped drive the Mosier Creek Fire that started yesterday afternoon between Mosier and The Dalles to more than 500 acres last night. Several homes have been lost to the flames, and late last night, as the fire was threatening more than 300 homes.Oregon Gov. Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act to provide more state resources to fire crews in Wasco County.
The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office issued Level 3 “Go now” evacuation notices for  about 150 homes, including all of Paradise Ridge Place Road and everyone west of State Road, from Evergreen Terrace to Dry Creek Rd.
Level 2 “Get Set” evacuation zones include some 500 homes in the area east of State Road, from Evergreen Terrace to Dry Creek Rd.

Level 1 “Get Ready” evacuation notices  were issued for about 250 homes on  all of Browns Creek Rd from Chenoweth Rd. to Wells Rd.The Red Cross has set up a shelter at The Shilo Inn in The Dalles,The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office said power outages were hit more than 4,000 customers in Hood River County yesterday afternoon, starting around the time the fire began. Crews restored power to most customers late Wednesday night. 

Resources last night included four air tankers, two fire bosses, and three Type 1 helicopters. An estimated 100 firefighters were on scene from several agencies, with more on the way.
The Oregon State Fire Marshal will assume command at 8 a.m. this morning to bring resources from counties around Oregon to assist in the response. Oregon State Fire Marshal will be working under unified command with Oregon Department of Forestry.