August 31, 2017 10:35 a.m.
Fires burning on the Umpqua North Complex are now covering over 25,000 acres, a gain of nearly 2,000 acres since Wednesday.
A report from the Complex says that firefighters are focused on reinforcing control lines and contingency lines as a high pressure system builds over the Umpqua National Forest and temperatures rise to about 100 degrees starting Friday. A high of 104 is forecast for the Complex on Saturday along with relative humidity dropping into the 20s. The clear skies associated with this system will promote active burning that will test the work firefighters have done over the past two weeks.
The primary concern for fire managers is the Happy Dog Fire, north of Highway 138 East, and keeping it from coming back out of the 2008 Rattle Fire scar and impacting the Highway 138 East corridor. If it spreads back to the south, the areas of Dry Creek, Illahee Flats, Soda Springs and Slide Creek could be impacted. Another area of concern is the portion of the Happy Dog Fire south of Highway 138 East. There, burnout operations have removed fuels ahead of the fire along the PacificCorp powerline and Forest Road 28 to halt its advancement toward Oak Nob and further east to the 138 corridor.
The Happy Dog Fire and the Ragged Ridge Fire have merged into one. They now cover over 17,000 acres. The goal is to keep the fires from spreading to the west into the Steamboat Creek drainage and compromising Forest Road 38.
Highway 138 East remains closed from mile marker 47 to mile marker 54 due to hazardous conditions. Fire managers, along with staff from the Oregon Department of Transportation are re-evaluating the risk of this stretch of road each day .
The Umpqua National Forest remains closed in the areas of the North Umpqua and Diamond Lake Ranger Districts. The North Umpqua River is still closed to boaters and anglers from Boulder Flat Raft Launch to the Susan Creek Campground due to falling trees and rolling debris. The only exception is a short stretch of river near Steamboat Inn that is open to fishing.