Shadow Lake Fire Update:
September 14, 2011 - 9 AM
Firefighters gain upper hand; Popular hiking trail to reopen this weekend
Sisters, Oregon-Firefighters took advantage of favorable weather conditions yesterday to build fireline along the Shadow Lake Fire's northwestern flank to end the fire's westward movement. Hand crews have also completed much of the containment line needed to accomplish a burnout of unburned pockets of fuel along this flank should conditions allow on Wednesday. These unburned fuels pose a threat to the main fireline if easterly winds return before enough moisture occurs in the area to bring fire season to an end. Lower temperatures and higher relative humidity, combined with a strengthening westerly wind, are expected to thwart the overall fire's growth through the remainder of this week.
Fire behavior was limited to single tree torching on the west end of the fire on Tuesday and is expected to be similar early today. Due to the moisture-laden marine push from the west, fire behavior is expected to further diminish by mid to late afternoon today.
Fire crews continue to look for hotspots on the eastern and northeastern flank of the fire. Mopping up is nearing completion in these areas and limited rehabilitation measures could begin. Measures include constructing water bars and pulling back fireline to prevent erosion and return disturbed sites to more natural conditions.
"We are striving to get visitors back into the forest as quickly as safe conditions will allow" says Willamette Forest Supervisor Meg Mitchell. Coldwater Cove Campground is now open since fire activity has lessened on the west end of the fire. The McKenzie River National Scenic Trail and Clear Lake Resort both plan to reopen by this weekend. Businesses have remained open in the surrounding McKenzie corridor and Sisters area throughout the fire. The Deschutes and Willamette National Forest still have area closures in effect but are assessing potential opportunities to shrink the closed area. Visitors are urged to check the forest websites or contact the Sisters Ranger District (541-549-7701) or the McKenzie Ranger District (541-822-3381) for a list of roads and hiking trails open for use.
Forest visitors are urged to stay out of the burned areas until spring due to extreme hazards from burning stump holes and falling snags. Efforts to reduce firefighting traffic on highway 126 are also under way. Please use caution when driving in this area and wherever you approach fire vehicles.
The Shadow Lake Fire remains at approximately 10,000 acres with 35% containment and 663 personnel assigned. More information is available at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2550
, or www.facebook.com/oregonfireinfo