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Friday, August 26, 2016

8/26/16 Withers Fire Final Update


PAISLEY, Ore. – The Withers Fire is expected to be 100 percent contained by this evening, most of the firefighting resources have been released to their home units or been assigned to other fires and life is returning to normal for the residents of Paisley.
Local firefighters with the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) will continue to monitor the area in coming weeks and it is likely there will be visible smoke within the perimeter until there is significant precipitation.  All closure orders and evacuations have been lifted.
The fire, which started August 17, ended up being 3,424 acres.  Approximately 20 percent of the fire was on private land, with the remainder on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lakeview District lands.
At its peak there were more than 330 people dedicated to suppression efforts and a local Type 3 Incident Management Team was in place with a regional Type 2 Team prepared to take command if needed. 
“We are happy that through the hard work and dedication of the firefighters and personnel on this incident that it was possible to contain the Withers Fire without the loss of any structures fairly quickly in weather and fuel conditions which generally lead to rapid spread,” said Interagency Fire Staff Officer Barry Shullanberger.  “Most importantly, we appreciate the community of Paisley for their patience, cooperation and support as the firefighters and Incident Management Teams worked in and around the town.”

“The juniper fuel reduction work in the area was a tremendous help to firefighters protecting the town of Paisley and also reduced some of the intensity of the fire,” said BLM Lakeview Resource Area Field Manager Todd Forbes.  “Now the important work starts to repair the damage from the fire and continue to protect the community of Paisley and the Chewaucan River by reducing the risk of erosion and landslides and restoring overall health to the landscape.”

BLM staff are already working towards restoration in the area, including repairing fences damaged during fire suppression operations, restoring dozer lines to natural conditions and resource specialists are conducting an Ecological Stabilization and Rehabilitation assessment to make recommendations for restoration of grasses, shrubs, erosion control and other long-term recovery work.

The cause of the Withers Fire continues to be under investigation.  Anyone with information is asked to call 541-947-2504.

Fire danger in the area remains extreme and visitors are asked to be aware of their surroundings and to be prepared for changing conditions.  This includes reporting visible smoke that could be from a wildfire.

To report a fire, please call 911.

In addition, many parts of the SCOFMP area continue to regularly be under red flag warnings and fire weather watches with low relative humidity and strong winds, increasing the risk of wildfire – not only from lightning, but also human causes.  The agencies ask that the public be careful with anything that can throw a spark while out on federal or state public lands.

For more information on SCOFMP, please visit www.scofmp.org, on Twitter @scofmpfireinfo or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/scofmpfireinfo.
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