Warm Springs, OR — September 20, 2020
Lionshead Fire Update
Sunday, September 20, 2020 – 9:00 a.m.
Air Operations Active with Favorable Weather Conditions
Current Situation: Fire growth should be minimal today with current weather and fire behavior forecasts. Fire behavior will likely increase with the warmer and drier weather in the coming days.
Resources from the National Guard will be arriving on the fire in the next few days. These troops, along with additional crews arriving, will allow for more work on the fire to be achieved.
Firefighting Efforts by Division: (Refer to the map for division breakdown.)
On the northeast portion of the fire, in Division A, steep, rugged terrain and snags are present in the Badger Butte area. Crews were able to stitch together line and plan for filling in gaps in the line moving forward. The eastern fire perimeter in Divisions A and E is secure, but crews will continue to mop up and patrol for hotspots to achieve full containment. Good progress was made yesterday on direct line work to contain the fire spread to the north. The east side of the fire on the Warm Springs Reservation is approaching containment.
The east side of the fire in Divisions G, I, K, and N has been contained for several days. Firefighters will continue to monitor and patrol this area. Firefighting equipment, such as hoses, pumps, and portable tanks, that is no longer needed will be removed from this portion of the fire and relocated to other areas where there is a need.
On the southeast perimeter, working west from the Division N/R break (north of Jefferson Lake), the fireline has been secured west to the lava rock in Division R. To provide for firefighter safety, no crews have been placed on the active fire edge in the rest of this division or in eastern portion of Division S, east of the wilderness boundary, due to terrain and related safety concerns. Some rain on the area helped contain any spread on Saturday. Fire managers are monitoring this area with aircraft and drones with IR capability as aviation conditions improve. Air support will monitor any fire spread.
In Division S, within the wilderness, the fire has not moved in several days and is not currently posing a concern. This area is being monitored. On the west side of Division S, a combination of hand and dozer line is being constructed using the Whitewater Fire burn scar as an anchor point and tying into Highway 22. Line construction will continue west into Division T as terrain allows.
In Division T, the primary focus will be in the areas of Idanha, New Idanha, Detroit, South Detroit, and private lands to the south of the fire. Structure protection will continue in these areas. This portion of the fire received the most precipitation on Friday. The road system held the fire in this area, and this helped with further containment in the New Idanha and Idanha areas. Dozer line has been completed around the spot fire near Beard Saddle. The focus today will be containing a large spot fire near Stallman Point and the Cove Creek Campground.
On the northwest flank of the fire in Division W, fire managers are developing suppression plans for this portion of the fire. Continuing east to Division Y, in the finger of fire to the north, firefighters are focused on containing the spot fire and portion of the fire that crossed Highway 46. In Division Z, the immediate priority is containing a 600-acre spot fire that is near the Division Z/A break. Snags and difficult terrain have made this work difficult.
Two contingency groups are in place looking at options for indirect fireline. These lines will be used in the event that fire activity increases, and firefighters are not able to engage the fire directly. The south contingency group is working along County Road 12 creating fuel breaks along the road. This indirect line will be used to protect values to the east in the event fire activity increases in this area as fuels dry out. The north contingency group is working in close coordination with Riverside Fire management to identify opportunities to connect existing roads that both fires could use in the event these indirect lines are needed.
Thanks to the improved visibility, firefighters were able fly sections of the fire for the first time in several days. Having favorable weather has been extremely helpful in this regard. Helicopters were able to accomplish water bucket work and helispots for future work were identified. Due to local clouds and smoke, crews were not able to install the critically needed radio repeater scheduled for placement on the north side of the fire.
Weather & Fuel Conditions: Very mild conditions will continue for the next couple of days. Good minimum humidity during the day will limit fire spread in fine fuels. Friday’s showers and thunderstorms that brought rainfall amounts around 0.3 inch to 0.5 inch west of the Cascade crest (approximately one inch fell near Detroit Lake) and 0.1 inch to 0.2 inch east of the crest. The rain helped to clear out the smoke that has blanketed the region for several days. Westerly winds allowed marine clouds to move inland toward the Cascade Range. Nevertheless, the air quality conditions greatly improved. No fire weather concerns are anticipated on Sunday. It will be warmer with lower humidity and little change in the winds. Highs on Sunday will be in the mid-60s to lower 70s, the relative humidity will range from 35 to 45%, and the winds will be west-southwest around 5-10 mph gusting to 15 mph.
Closures and Evacuations: Evacuation Notices remain in place for the Lionshead Fire. Level 3 “Go!”evacuation notices are still in place for the communities of Detroit, Idanha, and Breitenbush. There are no longer any evacuation notices for the Sid Walter/Miller flats area.
Roads and trails near the fire remain closed for public safety. This includes roads and trails on the Confederated Tribes of Warm Spring lands adjacent to the fire and a 40-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail between Santiam Pass and Olallie Lake. Forest closures are in place for Deschutes, Mt. Hood and Willamette National Forests: Deschutes NF Alerts Willamette NF Alerts Mt. Hood NF Alerts.
Temporary Flight Restrictions: A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place over the Lionshead Fire and surrounding fires. Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Whenever a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of the area. For more information, visit knowbeforeyoufly.org.
Lionshead Fire Statistics:
Size: 198,763 acres
Total Personnel: 1,077
Location: 14 miles west of Warm Springs
Reported: 8/16/20, approximately 8:44 p.m.
For More Information:
Information Office: 971-277-5075, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Media Inquiries: 541-904-0542
Email: [email protected]
Rocky Mountain Incident Team 1
Public Information Phone: 971-277-5075
Incident E-mail: [email protected]
Incident Website: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7049