The Dalles The Government Flats Fire Complex is 75 percent contained, officials said this morning, and command of the fire will be turned over to local officials tomorrow morning.
The fire, listed at burning 11,434 acres, has not grown in size for the last few days, they said. The reduction in the acreage of the fire, which was listed at 12,070 acres earlier, is due to more accurate mapping.
The Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 3 began demobilization of resources on Monday, and plans call for a local fire management team out of the department of forestry’s Central Oregon
District-The Dalles Unit to assume management tomorrow morning and continue final mop-up and patrol of the fire.
The fire continues to smolder in areas and the fuels continue to have higher relative humidity levels, although forecasted warmer weather will begin to dry out the fuels.
“Firefighters were complimented on the good work and safety record they have accomplished, but they were also reminded that there is a lot more work to be done,” a press release stated.
Demobilization continues daily, and there were 627 personnel fighting the fire yesterday, down from a high of 1,055.
“Today, crews will continue seeking and extinguishing burning or smoldering hot spots found in downed logs and vegetation, primarily on the west and northwest edges of the fire. Their work is similar to putting out a huge camp fire – drown and stir untilt eh last ember is out,” the press release stated.
“The work is done in a methodical manner by gridding an area, then re-gridding the area from a different direction until no smoke or other indications of hot embers are found. It is then rechecked the next day until it is out. Because this fire is so large, crews start at the outer boundaries and work their way in 200 to 300 feet,” the release stated.
Four two-person crews are working each night using infrared detection devices for locating hot areas, the release stated. These areas are then marked with flagging for the firefighters on day shift to extinguish.
“The public is reminded that fire equipment traffic will be heavy in areas near to the fire. Please use caution if driving in these areas. Some roads into the fire area are closed to non-fire traffic,” the release stated.
There is currently an area closure on some roads, trails and facilities within the Mt Hood National Forest in the vicinity of the fire. Listings of the road, trail and campground area closures may be found at these web sites: Mt Hood National Forest Area Closure or http://inciweb.org/incident/maps/3662/
Total cost of the fire to date is $12 million and resources include 20 crews, 21 engines, eight dozers, 10 water tenders and seven helicopters.