REDMOND, Ore. – Much of the repair and rehabilitation work firefighters and resource advisors (READs) being done this week has focused on stabilizing and protecting areas of the burn zone against the incoming rains.
Mitigation measures on steep slopes have been prioritized to reduce erosion, particularly in the form of dozer line repair. This work includes loosening soils compacted by heavy equipment to increase absorption; redistributing berms of soil and vegetative material scraped away when bulldozers were cutting line; and creating water bars, which channel water into ditches or unburned green areas.
Thursday, Prineville Hotshots helped guide strategic water drops on a spot fire near the finger to the north. Water drops continued on Mt. Bruno as well.
A contingency line to the north that will benefit both the Lionshead and Riverside fire responses is nearly complete. Hazard tree falling on the Hwy. 46 corridor is nearly complete. Interior burning in the northeast corner was more subdued, but incoming winds could stimulate more activity today as a new weather front moves into the region.
Weather: Abundant rain is expected Saturday, Incident Meteorologist Chuck Redman said, estimating up to 2 inches of rain could fall on the west side of the Cascade Crest, with ½ to ¾ of an inch on the east side.
“We’re looking at a good thread of wetting rain throughout the weekend,” Redman, said, adding showers should continue into Monday morning.
Safety: Rain is good news for suppression, but also poses additional hazards that can put firefighters at risk. Depending on conditions, crews may have to stop work and seek shelter at times.
Many of the hazards firefighters face also apply to communities where residents and landowners have been allowed to return, and also areas reopened to recreation and hunting.
Strong winds can topple trees and cause limbs to fall, while heavy rain can limit visibility, destabilize rocks, logs and trees on slopes, wash out roads and cause mudslides or flash flooding. Cooler temperatures and wet conditions can also lead to hypothermia.
Closures: Closure orders and maps for the Willamette, Mt. Hood and Deschutes National Forests and Prineville District Bureau of Land Management can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7049/ Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has updated hunting information can be found at https://myodfw.com/articles/2020-wildfires-impact-hunting-fishing-wildlife