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Friday, August 19, 2016

8/19/16 Withers Fire Morning Update

Withers Fire:  For more than 48 hours, firefighters have been working to protect the community of Paisley and the valuable natural and agricultural resources in the area.  Their hard work, diligence and commitment to firefighter and public safety have been instrumental in reducing the threat to the community of Paisley and making great progress towards containment.  Today, firefighters continue to reinforce containment lines, working towards 100 percent containment, and are starting mop-up.
While Evacuation Levels remain the same this morning, they are being evaluated.
The fire is located west of Oregon State Highway 31.  The fire was one of four started Wednesday.
A local Type 3 incident management team will continue working on the fire today.
The fire is burning in fine flashy fuels and in a juniper fuel treatment project area.  High temperatures and low relative humidity continue to affect fire behavior.
The cause is under investigation.
Smoke from the fire may be visible today throughout the region and there continues to be a risk of smoke impacting communities including Paisley and Summer Lake.  Individuals with smoke sensitivity, including the elderly and young children may want to stay indoors or leave the area if a smoke inversion settles into Paisley or Summer Lake overnight and into the early morning. 
While Hwy 31 remains open, there is a significant increase in fire traffic.  Minimizing travel in the area if possible will help both firefighter and public safety.  There is also a likelihood of increased air traffic in the area as part of firefighting efforts.  A temporary flight restriction is in place over the fire area.
Fire danger remains high and the public should be aware of their surroundings and prepared for changing conditions.
Residents and area visitors are asked to be vigilant with anything with a flame or spark.  Also, respect current Public Use and Fire Restrictions on federal and state lands in Lake and Klamath counties.  It only takes one coal or ember to spark a wildfire!
Expected Fire Behavior: Conditions continue to be hot and dry with relatively low fuel moistures.  Increased fire activity is likely as temperatures increase.
Weather: High temperatures will be in the 90s with low humidity.
Road Closures: Forest Road No. 33, also known as the River Road, from the junction with Forest Road No. 3315 to Jones Crossing, as well as Forest Road No. 3315 from the junction with Forest Road No. 33 to the intersection with Forest Road No. 3360 are closed.
Evacuation Information: Evacuation levels are being evaluated this morning and may be modified.  There is a Level 3 Evacuation for campgrounds along the Chewaucan River and any residences along the River Road – anyone in this area needs to leave immediately.  The Level 2 Evacuation for seven residences along Mill Street has been lifted.  The town of Paisley remains under a Level 1 Evacuation – residents should be monitoring conditions and begin making preparations in case an evacuation becomes necessary.

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