All Umpqua North Complex evacuations lifted
ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Effective Tuesday, September 19, at noon, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and fire managers will lift all evacuations related to the Umpqua North Complex of fires.
Residents living in the Dry Creek/Illahee area (Hwy 138 E, milepost 46.5 to 49.5), Slide Creek area (Hwy 138 E, milepost 53 to 56), Toketee Village (Hwy 138 E, milepost 56 to 58.5) and Toketee Ranger Station (Hwy 138 E, milepost 58.5 to 61) were previously under a Level 1 or "Be Ready" Evacuation notice.
The lifting of this notice means no homes are currently being threatened by any of the fires in the Umpqua North Complex, officials said.
"The Douglas County Sheriff's Office and our firefighting partners ask that all residents have an emergency plan and live in a state of preparedness for when disasters may strike," the sheriff's office said in a news release.
Precipitation occurred over the fire area Monday resulting in minimal fire activity. Rain gauges on the North Umpqua and Diamond Lake Ranger Districts measured anywhere from 0.88 inches to 1.5 inches as of 7:00 Tuesday morning. A stronger cold front is likely to bring a more widespread wetting rain and snow around 6000 feet late Tuesday into Wednesday night. Some lingering showers are possible Thursday.
The National Forest Service has issued a flash flood watch for the fire area this evening through Wednesday afternoon. Moderate to occasionally heavy rain will bring the chance for rock fall and debris flows along a portion of Highway 138 that borders the North Umpqua Complex wildfire burn scar.
Great Basin Incident Management Team 3 under the command of Taiga Rohrer is currently managing the Umpqua North Complex. Firefighter and public safety continues to be Team 3’s number one priority. With extremely wet and hazardous conditions on the roads and the landscape, fire managers will evaluate firefighter safety before committing personnel to their assigned operations.
Monday, firefighters continued suppression repair work on several fires including the east flank of the Ragged Ridge Fire between Highway 138 and Steamboat Creek Road (FR 38) and along Copeland Creek Road (FR 28). These repair measures include: building water bars to limit erosion, covering containment lines built by crews and dozers, knocking down berms, and chipping woody debris. Fire crews also continued removing or backhauling equipment no longer necessary for the fire suppression effort. This equipment includes portable pumps, water tanks, hoses and fittings.
Tuesday, suppression repair and backhaul will be the primary operations. Fire managers estimate the remaining workload will take a couple of weeks. The current rain will likely slow efforts to complete this work.
The Umpqua National Forest dropped into an Industrial Fire Precaution Level I (IFPL I), and a fire danger rating of “moderate.” Forest officials also announced an end to public use restrictions for the following items: campfires outside of campgrounds, smoking outside of a vehicle, operating internal combustion engines, and welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame. Although these restrictions have been lifted, fire season is still underway and forest visitors must be careful with fires, completely extinguish any campfire and never leave a campfire unattended. The weather will warm back to seasonable temperatures this weekend.