123 Takes Off

Fire 123 above Tumblebug Creek on the Willamette National Forest in west-central Oregon took off yesterday, pushed by warm east winds in the afternoon. Trees started torching, with flames reaching 80 feet. Then it was 200 feet. The Tumblebug Complex fires have burned in little stubborn pockets all week, according to the Eugene Register-Guard, after a September 12 lightning storm on the Middle Fork Ranger District started about 25 little fires from Tiller all the way up to the McKenzie River Ranger District.

Crews have contained 22 of the 25 fires, but the acreage on the three uncontained fires is about 80 percent of the total. Rappel crews, jumpers, and other Type 1 resources were brought in Wednesday; most of the fires are burning in old growth with heavy dead-and-down fuels. Firefighters yesterday reported spotting, multiple tree torching, and increased rates of spread on Fire 123, which gained almost 50 acres. Airtankers made three retardant drops on the fire. Chris Hays’ Type 3 team is managing the complex.

Fire 123 and Fire 119 are on steep slopes just outside the Diamond Peak Wilderness. About 450 firefighters are on the complex, and six heavy helicopters yesterday worked the fires. About 80 firefighters are staying at Sacandaga Campground along the Middle Fork of the Willamette; most are camped at the former Rigdon Ranger Station east of Oakridge. Containment’s estimated at 10 percent, with full containment predicted for next weekend.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.