Oregon’s Tyee Ridge Complex almost 3000 acres

The Tyee Ridge Complex consists of 19 fires ignited by lightning on the evening of August 24. About 200 people have been evacuated.

As of August 29, the fires had burned 2,899 acres in the hills around the community of Umpqua, approximately 10 miles west of Sutherlin. According to a report by KPIC-TV, the fires are under unified command with the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Team 1 and the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Red Team. The fires are in rugged, steep, and difficult terrain, but crews are making progress and the fire is now estimated at 5 percent containment.Tyee Ridge Complex map

Firefighters have been working since Tuesday night with very active fire behavior on the Cougar Creek and Lighthouse fires. Active fire behavior is predicted  till cooler conditions and expected showers arrive.

On Wednesday firefighters worked on a number of spot fires that Had crossed containment lines.

Water and retardant drops are supporting ground crews in areas of steep or inaccessible terrain. Single-engine airtankers and helicopters worked closely with heavy equipment operators and hand crews. Among the aircraft were two Chinook CH-47 helicopters from the Oregon Army National Guard.

To the north, the Big Tom Fire saw more active fire, while there was increased mop-up on the Hardscrabble, Blue Hole, and Yellow Point fires, all moving toward patrol status in coming days, according to a KPIC report.

Oregon State Fire Marshal task forces worked around structures, installing sprinkler kits along Hubbard Creek, Briarwood Road, and the Lighthouse community. They are integrated with ODF crews to HELP in cutting line and protecting homes.

Fuel moistures are well below average for this time of year. There is a heavy dead and down component to the fire area, with fuels burning actively and intensely. Even though humidity recoveries are good to excellent overnight and moderate during the day, heavier fuels are slow to respond. The steep terrain is also a factor in fire behavior that accelerates upslope fire runs, torching, and potential for spotting.

Tyee Ridge Complex at night
Nighttime on Tyee Ridge:  Headlamps of firefighters on night shift trace a bright trail beneath the rising moon on one of the fires of the Tyee Ridge Complex. Photo ©2023 Dan Morrison, photojournalist at the University of Oregon.

Currently the evacuations are: Level 3 (Go) from the 11000 block of Hubbard Creek Rd. to Millwood Dr., Level 2 (Set) from Hubbard Creek Rd. from Millwood Dr. to Melqua Rd., and Level 1 (Ready) for Tyee Road at the intersection with Rock Creek Rd. to Fanchin Lane. Closures: Hubbard Creek Road at Millwood Drive.

KPIC has a 5-star photo gallery by Dan Morrison.