Sherman County eNews #190

CONTENTS

  1. Express Your Gratitude for Our Local Farmers & Volunteer Fire Fighters

  2. Substation Fire

  3. KATU Chopper 2 Over the Substation Fire

  4. Wasco-Sherman Substation Fire Jumps Deschutes Again

  5. Substation Fire Now Considered Number One Fire in the Nation

  6. Hansell Calls on Gov.Brown for Global SuperTanker deployment for Substation Fire.


1. Express Your Gratitude for Our Local Farmers & Volunteer Fire Fighters

What: Power drinks, water, trail mix, jerky, chips, power bars – nothing that will spoil or melt in the heat.

Where: Drop off at Wasco Church of Christ, Moro Fire Department and Grass Valley Baptist Church.

And… what about tucking a little note of thanks in with your contribution!

More info as details are forthcoming.


2. Substation Fire

A wildfire burning in the area of The Dalles, in Wasco County, Oregon, and in Sherman County, Oregon, has been dubbed the “Substation Wildfire.” For clarification, though the fire started in the proximity of BPA’s Celilo Converter Station, it did not start on the property and no BPA assets have been destroyed by the fire.


3. KATU Chopper 2 Over the Substation Fire


4. Wasco-Sherman Substation Fire Jumps Deschutes Again

See: http://www.thedalleschronicle.com/news/2018/jul/19/fire-jumps-deschutes-again-thursday-morning/


5. Substation Fire Now Considered Number One Fire in the Nation

MORO, OR –  Day 3 of the Substation Fire brought high winds, with gusts up to 35-40 mph, making it a challenging day for firefighters.

The winds gave way to growth at the south end of the fire, near Deschutes river canyon, impacting both agricultural and wildland areas. Significant air assets continue to be used throughout the incident, in addition to dozers that helped firefighters make progress towards containment.

The Substation Fire is now considered the number one fire in the nation. Additional resources arrived Thursday afternoon in the form of a Pacific Northwest incident management team. These 60 team members add greater depth to the operational forces currently employed on the fire and will assist in managing all aspects of the fire. The additional resources complement the 217 firefighters, who represent 73 fire agencies across the state, currently assigned to the fire.

The Oregon National Guard has been activated to assist the Oregon Department of Forestry with wildfire suppression efforts following Governor Kate Brown’s statewide wildfire emergency declaration on July 18, 2018. These assets include two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and two HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters equipped with Bambi water buckets.

Other air tankers known as “Super Scoopers” and “Fire Bosses” that can drop hundreds and thousands of gallons of water continue to be used, as well as single-engine air tankers that can disperse fire retardant. Aircraft in this fuel type are very useful; they can provide heavy drops on canyon ridges and precision attacks in steeper terrain.

Evacuation levels have been very fluid. Law enforcement and fire officials appreciate the community’s understanding and responsiveness regarding evacuations. Fire officials are working closely with the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and Sherman County Sheriff’s Office to continually evaluate the risk to communities. Level 3 (“Go”) evacuations continue to be in place for Moro and Grass Valley. The communities of Wasco and Kent remain under Level 2 evacuation. Area residents are urged to heed local emergency notifications as well as check the local sheriff’s office Facebook page and the Substation Fire Facebook page (www.facebook.com/substationfire2018) for updates.

Segments 3 and 4 of the lower Deschutes River remain closed.

The American Red Cross shelter at The Dalles Middle School at 1100 E. 12th St remains available to residents impacted by the fire. In addition to sleeping accommodations, the shelter is a resource for meals, community updates, and a cool place to get out of the heat and smokey conditions.

Locally, smoke is in the moderate to unhealthy range. Sensitive groups, such as those with asthma, chronic respiratory disease or cardio vascular disease, are encouraged to avoid smoke exposure, reduce time spent outdoors and avoid strenuous activity during smoky conditions.

Contact Info:
Kristin Schafer
Public Information Officer
Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal
Oregon State Police
503-934-8217 desk
503-370-0033
Kristin.schafer2@state.or.us


6. Hansell Calls on Gov. Brown for Global SuperTanker deployment for Substation Fire. 

Athena, OR – Today, Senator Bill Hansell (R-Athena) officially requested the Governor call in the Global SuperTanker to assist in fighting the Substation Fire in Wasco and Sherman Counties. 

The Substation Fire, has burned more than 50,000 acres across the two counties, claimed the life of a Wasco County resident, burned three structures, and caused the evacuation of the cities of Moro and Grass Valley.  The city of Wasco has been placed on a Level 2 evacuation order. 

“The Substation Fire is burning through Wasco and Sherman Counties at great speeds.  As of this morning it was sitting at 50,000 acres.  Up from 32,000 yesterday.  We have access to a Global SuperTanker.  The plane is on contract with the state of Oregon to help us elevate fires, but we continue to have it go unused,” Sen. Hansell said.  “My Salem office called Jim Wheeler, President and CEO of Global SuperTanker Services LLC, to see how long it would take for the Tanker to come to Sherman County.  They stand ready to help.  They simply need the Governor to make the call.  I asked the Governor why we are not using the SuperTanker to fight the fire; her response was she didn’t know, but she was not going to override the incident commanders authority.”

The SuperTanker is housed at McClellan Air Force Base just outside of Sacramento, California.  The Global SuperTanker will need four hours to fill with water and fuel before wheels up, then it can be in Wasco and Sherman Counties in about an hour.  The Tanker flies at 600 miles per hour and can drop up to 19,000 gallons of water, fire retardant, or a combination of the two, on any single pass.  It then takes 30 minutes to refill with water. 

“We need to use every resource available to stop this fire as soon as possible.  The families and farmers in Wasco and Sherman Counties are having their livelihoods go up in flames because the no one has not made that phone call.  I urge the Governor and the Department of Forestry to use the resources available to end the Substation Fire as soon as possible.  Our fire fighters are working as fast and as hard as they can to put these fires out across the state.  The Tanker is an asset that can help the ground troops very quickly.  With the number of fires started by dry lightning strikes and human causes, we need to be aware of the dry state our region finds itself in,” Hansell said.  “We need to be careful with anything that could start more fires in Oregon.  The entire State is a tinderbox.” 

Sen. Hansell is the Senator from Senate District #29.  Senate District #29 includes Wallowa, Union, Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Sherman and half of Wasco Counties.  The Substation Fire is almost 100% within Senate District #29.  Senator Hansell also serves on the Emergency Board as well as the Ways and Means Interim Committee which will be responsible for allocating State funds to deal with fires across the state.


 

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