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Fire up the Clackamas
BrianEdwards
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09/24/2014 - 9:47 am
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Two days of rain has probably gotten things under control, tho the hot spots will persist for a while. 

Wonder how 224 faired during this rain. 

On a side note regarding fire, back in 2007 my grandfather cleared his acreage off Redland Rd, and made a single large slash pile. We had to wait several months for fire season to end.

So come October, we ignite the brushy pile. It was 12-15 ft tall, probably 18 ft across. After it started to burn the needles and get going, it quickly became a raging inferno. We tried to dampen it with the 80 psi agricultural hoses, but it would vaporize the water before it even hit the coals. My grandfather grabbed the cabbed John deere and started dumping loads of dirt on it, all the while I'm holding onto the 1" diameter agriculture hose hosing the base. He eventually got it buried, we turned the sprinklers onto the hot dirt, and let them run til the following evening. 

Well the huge dirt pile didn't stop smoldering. So, we set the sprinklers back up and let em run for three more days. Guess what, the dirt was still fiery hot. So, we fixed a permanent agricultural sprinkler to hose it down for a half hour every three hours.

This was October. On New Year's Day, the pile of dirt was STILL SMOLDERING, even with an untold amount of gallons of water that had been sprayed on it, and rain on top of that. 

Remember November 2007? It poured buckets that month and flooded out the coast range. Our hot pile of dirt didn't die til after my birthday in February. 

kirk
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09/24/2014 - 1:05 pm
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It looks like they've released the results of the investigation as to what caused the fire.  Here's a quote from http://www.nwccinfo.blogspot.com/:

 

Investigators have determined that the 36 Pit Fire started as the result of bullet fragments igniting fine dry fuels at the origin area of the fire.  Investigators confirmed this finding with witness observations, fire progression maps, and physical evidence collected at the specific origin area.   The fire started in an area popular with target shooters.  Information gathered up to this point indicates that the fire was not intentionally caused and the 36 Pit was open to recreational target shooting at the time of the incident.

 

Although the Forest Service supports responsible target shooting, shooters should also be aware that bullets with steel components and solid copper jackets impacting rocks or metal have the potential to produce hot fragments which can readily cause a fire, given the right weather and fuel conditions.  For information about how rifle bullets can ignite a fire please visit the following website: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/r....._rp104.pdf .  This has been an extraordinarily hot and dry summer.   Shooters should be aware of this and ensure that they prepare accordingly.

 

Witness interviews are still being conducted. Anyone with information relevant to the investigation should contact Phil Huff at 503-668-1686.

Donald Presley
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09/24/2014 - 3:00 pm
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The FS will probably add shooting activities to the list of things that will be restricted during red flag days, just like they shutdown logging operations or restrict them to early morning hours with a fire watch after operations had ceased for the day. Back in the 70's, when I was on a road crew that built logging roads for the FS, they called it "Hoot Owl" conditions. They called it that, because about the only thing you could hear at that time of day were the owls hooting. You started work at 4 am and worked until noon and was put on fire watch for a couple of hours to watch over the area that you had just worked in with chainsaws, cats, graders, or whatever.

Donovan
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09/24/2014 - 7:02 pm
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I think the District needs to watch things a little closer. And learn from the past.

We often get several days of high pressure and desicating winds for several days at the end of Summer. The Bowl fire was similar conditions if I remember right. But the District has had several rangers and they aren't here long enough to learn the District.

I think the river with those conditions and heavy use needs additional restrictions when we get the late summer winds and heat and it is up to the Ranger to make the call.

When Oregon City was drinking from the South Fork, it was very tightly patrolled during such conditions.

Any of us who spend time up there know those late season east winds and what they can do.

D 2

Rob Williams
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09/25/2014 - 7:01 pm
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Found a few interesting photos on the Mt Hood NF Facebook page today:

MtHoodNFPhoto7.jpg

 MtHoodNFPhoto6.jpg

 MtHoodNFPhoto4.jpg

 MtHoodNFPhoto3.jpg

 MtHoodNFPhoto2.jpg

 MtHoodNFPhoto1.jpg

 MtHoodNFPhoto5.jpg

 I think those along the road were taken on road 45 just above the river - it looks familiar to me.  Looks like lots of slides and downed trees.  I kind of doubt they are going to re-open that road any time soon.

There was very little increase in the fire today and the Type 2 team was de-mobilized, which I think is a good sign that things are quieting down.  All evacuation orders have been lifted too, which says to me they are pretty confident the fire isn't going to grow much more.

BrianEdwards
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09/25/2014 - 8:02 pm
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99% sure that's rd 45. Those slides don't look terrible, neither does the fire

Dylan
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09/25/2014 - 10:35 pm
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Nice photos Rob, that's a lot of rocks! I'm sure that's just what ODOT is afraid of happening to 224, which is why I've heard it'll remain closed indefinitely, not exactly the type of phrasing I'd like to hear. Here's two of the latest articles about the road closure:

http://www.oregonlive.com/wild....._mile.html

http://www.katu.com/news/local.....59681.html

At least the good news is that the fire seems like it's pretty contained and finally under control now. 

Bryon Boyce
Clackamas River
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09/26/2014 - 1:58 am
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Excellent photos - its good to see green foliage in much of the area above the burn. Interesting that ODOT was trying to address instability problems on 224 and now the fire has gone thru the same area.

How long 224 stays shut will depend on what happens when the burnt slopes are fully lubricated with rain in a month or two. I remember the Gorge Scenic Highway buried in sections as high as the stone guardrails after major storms following the Falls Fire years back.

Rob Williams
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10/11/2014 - 8:10 am
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I hadn't seen any updates for a while, so I went and checked it out today.  Sounds like they are about done with what they can do.  As of yesterday, there are only 31 people assigned to the fire now, and it is 80% contained, which is as good as they can do - I quote from the last report:

Due to the steep terrain and concerns for firefighter safety in these two areas, the containment percentage (80%) will remain constant until a season ending event occurs.

224 is still closed, and they don't give any estimate on when it might re-open. Sounds like it might be a while.  I wish they would re-open at least part of the 45 road from Hillockburn...But it sounds like it might not be until next year.

Dylan
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10/11/2014 - 3:26 pm
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I've been assuming no news is good news.. incredible how many people were working the fire lines at one point. Though the way they're wording the closures isn't exactly making me optimistic they'll reopen roads anytime soon. I still wish there was a bit more information being posted online about the closures/what the game plan is. Kind of frustrating to have no idea what they're planning to do up there.

Bryon Boyce
Clackamas River
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10/12/2014 - 8:43 pm
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Mostly the plan is to wait and see what the rains do. There might be substantial rock and soil movement onto the road. Past experience would indicate this as a real possibility. Of course you don't know for certain until it happens. Those in control here would prefer not to have to dig anyone out. And its better to be castigated for unneeded caution than for buried cars.

If nothing moves after some heavy rains we might see the roads open. If stuff does move then they will wait and see what the next storm does. And so on.

Rob Williams
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10/13/2014 - 6:26 am
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I guess my real problem is why can't they say something like that, rather than "closed indefinitely"?  It isn't making any promises, just giving a little more background on what might constitute re-opening the road.  But based on previous road issues (the falling rocks one that closed 224 for several months a few years ago is the freshest in my mind), I kind of doubt 224 will re-open this year.

I wish they would re-open 45 from the Hillockburn side, though.  Maybe this weeks rain (sounds like it will be pretty heavy - a couple of inches in 2 days) will change things.

Patience was never one of my strong points, though.

Bryon Boyce
Clackamas River
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10/16/2014 - 10:42 pm
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Folks, its MUCH worse up there than I was originally led to believe. Many of the trees that were green just after the fire passed through, turned yellow a week or two later. The amount of dead forest is multiple times larger than first thought. The fire area is still a patchwork of living and dead zones but the dead zones are a larger portion that was originally apparent.

Below are some photos from the Forest Service taken from a helicopter very recently. These are from a Powerpoint presentation from the FS. They are free to distribute. I will try to find the exact date they were taken.

Notice the areas that are gray to black - those burned dead when the fire passed through. The ones that are yellow to orange were mostly green just after the fire. They either suffered heat damage to the needles or the cambium layer under the bark cooked near ground level.

The first pictures include Ladee flats and the north side of the river. The later ones are the south side looking towards Hillockburn Road. The Forest Service has a map of the picture locations which I will ask them for tomorrow. The very last photo shows smoke still rising on the Hillockburn side.36-pit-fire2.002.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.003.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.004.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.005.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.006.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.007.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.008.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.009.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.010.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.012.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.013.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.014.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.015.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.016.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.017.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.018.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.019.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.020.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.021.jpg

 36-pit-fire2.022.jpg

BrianEdwards
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10/16/2014 - 11:44 pm
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Wow! Thanks for the photos, as saddening as they are. 

BrianEdwards
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10/22/2014 - 8:54 pm
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Wonder how the hwy faired through this rain storm

Rob Williams
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10/26/2014 - 5:46 am
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BrianEdwards said
Wonder how the hwy faired through this rain storm

I do too.  I wonder when they will re-open 4610, or at least 4614?  I've seen no updates at all.  I can't imagine that the rain we've had these last couple of weeks can't be considered a "season ending event".  Would be nice to see some sort of status updates.

Bryon Boyce
Clackamas River
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10/26/2014 - 9:30 pm
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Here is where they are hiding the updates - still says "indefinitely" and updated at 1 PM today.

http://www.tripcheck.com/Pages.....urRegion=1

Rob Williams
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10/27/2014 - 5:09 am
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Bryon Boyce said
Here is where they are hiding the updates - still says "indefinitely" and updated at 1 PM today.

http://www.tripcheck.com/Pages.....urRegion=1

I saw that - the text of that message has remained essentially unchanged since they posted it.  I don't know what has been "updated".  It would be nice to hear some plans, or what is being done - are they working on removing the "hazard trees"?  When is the FS going to reopen 4610?  or 4614?  Or even portions of 45?  (off Hillockburn)  Those are things I'm interested in hearing, but I'm guessing it will be next year sometime before we get back into the Clackamas.

Patti Winters
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10/27/2014 - 7:02 am
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I drove up to the road block on Hwy 224 yesterday.  There was an ODOT guy there, apparently keeping watch that no one gets by.  I asked what it was looking like up there, he said rocks and trees down.  I asked for a guess as to when they may start clean up, he said, he thinks in a few weeks and maybe open by Thanksgiving, but that the forest service is really tough about keeping things closed.  The forest service has been less than easy to work with (no surprise there).  He said to go to the ODOT website for information and I told him there haven't been any informative updates and that those of us who play up here would just like to know about any progress and that it would be nice if the could do that, just to give us some encouragement.  I saw six more people driving to the road block as I was leaving.  I'd stop at the FS office on my way up to see if any new information was posted, there wasn't.  Sure would be nice for it to open around Thanksgiving.   

BrianEdwards
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10/27/2014 - 7:11 am
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Hillockburn road is OPEN!

Theres about 1/8 mile of burn next to it by the sweeping curve. A lot of it has been logged already? All the trees were gone, just a bunch of stumps 

45 is blocked by a down tree towards the head of the SF canyon 

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