Update on Chetco Bar Fire and other wildfires in the Northwest

Satellite photo, wildfires in northwest US

Above: Satellite photo from August 27, 2017 showing smoke created by fires in the Northwestern United States, including Chetco Bar, Liberty, Rice Ridge, and Jolly Mountain Fires. The red dots on the map represent heat detected by the satellite on August 28.

(Originally published at 9:55 a.m. MDT August 28, 2017)

The Chetco Bar Fire in Southwest Oregon has not been growing as quickly in recent days as it did earlier when it quadrupled in size over four days and crossed the 100,000-acre threshold. The most recent mapping puts it at almost 108,000 acres. The area is under a Red Flag Warning on through Tuesday for gusty southwest winds and low humidities which could result in increased burning intensity and rapid fire growth.

The 4,400-acre Jolly Mountain Fire in Central Washington is near a Red Flag Warning area. Fire officials’ expectations for Monday:

Southern and western flanks of the fire will become active with uphill crown runs both on the east and west sides of West Fork drainage. SE flank will continue to back downslope. Fire will become increasingly active as it spreads to the south, where it loses its downslope effect and in more exposed to general winds. Fire likely to cross Sasse Ridge to the west.

liberty fire dozer
A dozer passes through an area where firefighters are working on the Liberty Fire. Undated & uncredited Inciweb photo.

The 12,800-acre Liberty Fire has been burning northeast of Missoula, Montana since July 15 while the Rice Ridge Fire, not far away, has spread over 27,800 acres since it started two weeks later. Hot, dry weather on Monday could cause both blazes to become more active.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

10 thoughts on “Update on Chetco Bar Fire and other wildfires in the Northwest”

  1. Nothing more honorable, heroic and brave than putting your firefighting professionalism “on the line” for the sake of others. So proud of each of you. May God keep you safe. Thank you.

  2. Even in Sutherlin , 11 miles north of Roseburg, or the smoke is so thick we cant see the local mountains near like across the sreet from our backyard or front yards, the sun is having a hard time coming through our prayers go out fo the firefighters and the families who are having to evacuate or are in harms way of the fires

  3. In Brookings a firefighter was outside moms window this morning – getting any extra leaves and such from gutters (she is at an assisted living facility) she said thank u thank u! Be safe, bless you all!! She is stage 1 and evac is prepped…she’s packed…but many thanks to all the firefighters and so many working on all the fires…may all calm soon- (reminds me of the Middletown fire(s) a few yrs back ; down our way- sonoma county had brown skies and ash everywhere for a week and we are hr + away! Inland tends to get pretty dry for us, fires common – but always frightening)

  4. Thank You seems very weak when I consider you guys are charging hell with a bucket of water trying to save homes for people you have never met ! I pray you are all safe and make it through the fire season without catastrophes to any of your teams ! Lord Bless All of You !

  5. Hi Bill, do you know if the U2 spy plane was used to map over the Chetco Bar fire? One flew through Redding last Wednesday and then I saw a sort of grid pattern vapor trail to the northwest on Thursday.

  6. You firefighters are so amazing. Thank you, God bless you, you are in my prayers. I am praying for rain so you can rest easy real soon.

  7. I am retired and disabled now after a 19 year firefighting career and 28 years as a social worker. It used to be that structure rigs worked on the flatlands and forest fire workers worked in the wild lands. Now that’s not necessarily so. More and more homes are moving into wildland areas and it changes wildland firefighters’s priorities. Life preservation and safety first, improvements second, and wildfires. Firefighters won’t sacrifice safety for homes. It would help a lot if you could visit your local forest or home protection fire stations for information about clearing flammable material around your home. If you are planning to buy a home near or next to the wildland, be sure evaluate it for fire engine access, water availability, brush and trees near the home. Remember Smokey says, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

  8. Why were the firefighters told to stand down at the chetco bar fire in the beginning when this fire was small enough to extinguish! Who ordered that!? Let forest management reign again!

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