☑ Weekly Update - Feb. 5, 2021


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OPERATIONS


Hazard tree marking and removal work continues to ramp up, with the most activity underway in the Holiday Farm Fire burn area, east of Eugene.

The Debris Management Task Force understands how difficult it can be to experience the dramatic changes associated with a post-wildfire landscape like in the McKenzie River corridor. We appreciate the vital role of local community partnerships in helping Oregon recover while our work ensures the safety of Oregonians and work crews.

By the numbers

Progress is continuing statewide.

  • 11,500 hazard trees marked and ready to be cut

  • 3,700 hazard trees currently cut

  • 1.9 million pounds of ash and debris have been removed, roughly the weight of 75 school buses

  • More than 1,500 properties are participating in Step 2 cleanup work, with 210 mobile home lots currently being cleaned in Phoenix, Oregon.

Northern Oregon

  • Holiday Farm Fire area (Lane County, McKenzie River area): Task Force work crews, local utility companies and other local crews are hard at work, leading to dramatic and visible landscape change. This area is the busiest hazard tree removal operation currently underway and will continue to increase in the coming weeks as 70,000 hazard trees are expected to be removed from the corridor. Chimney tipping will on select properties will also begin later this week. Direct mail was sent to all property owners in the Holiday Farm fire area announcing current operations. Outreach and updates will continue through online, email, in-person and mail communications.

  • Echo Mountain Fire area (Lincoln County, Lincoln City area): Weather continues to play a factor as work to remove hazard trees on nine properties is expected in the upcoming week. Work orders will be issued for ash and debris removal shortly. Prep work continues and includes finishing environmental testing, placing address signs, coordinating with property owners, and mobilizing crews for debris cleanup.

  • Riverside Fire area (Estacada area, Clackamas County): Highway 224 remains closed while hazard tree marking continues in state right-of-way areas as contractors mobilize crews and equipment while identifying staging areas. Ash and debris removal operations include environmental testing, installing address signs and coordinating with property owners.

  • Beachie Creek/Lionshead (Santiam River): Ash and debris removal operations are in the early stages and hazard trees continue to be marked on impacted properties. Work orders are expected this week for tree and slash cleanup, with ash and debris and tree cutting work beginning shortly. Chimney tipping is beginning on impacted properties.


Southern Oregon

  • Almeda & S. Obenchain Fire areas (Medford/Talent/Phoenix, Eagle Point, Jackson County): Significant progress continues on ash and debris removal for 210 mobile home lots in Phoenix at the Bear Lake Estate mobile home park. Work will transition to the Mountain View Estates mobile home park in Talent following clear asbestos test results. Air quality monitoring will occur for those remaining in these areas.

  • Archie Creek Fire area (Douglas County): The beginning stages of hazard tree removal work east of Roseburg is underway. We’re growing partnerships with groups including Glide Revitalization to help support locally-coordinated efforts. Ash and debris prep work continues as address signs are placed. The Task Force team met on-site along the 138E corridor with the United States Forest Service to discuss constraints and identify planned work methods in preparation for mobilizing crews. Tree marking continues and hazard tree removal work orders are expected to be issued soon.


  • 242 Fire area (Klamath County): Ongoing discussions with Klamath County continue regarding priorities and future work plans. A pre-construction meeting is planned related to cultural resources in the area.


TOPICS OF THE WEEK

How do you determine if a tree is a “hazard tree?”

Certified arborists follow FEMA criteria to determine if a tree is a “hazard tree.” Hazard trees are dead or dying trees that will present an eminent threat to the traveling public within a five year timeframe.

Watch a video about how we evaluate hazard trees.


Wildfire is devastating to a tree’s structural integrity, and structural defects are the primary indicators that a tree is a hazard. Obvious signs are fire damage to the lower trunk or roots. Wildfire burns very hot and can damage a tree’s base, making it susceptible to falling over, especially in rough winter weather.


Other signs, like a damaged interior, are harder to spot. Trees with pre-fire holes or damage are especially vulnerable to fire. The fire can enter through these old wounds and burn through the interior of the tree, hollowing it out and killing it. The dead tree might still appear healthy on the outside — especially near the top — but this is deceiving. Inside, the tree is a charred cavity, making it unstable and dangerous.


Where a tree is standing can factor into whether or not it’s a hazard. Typically, hazard trees are cut down if they’re within a distance of 1.5x their height from a roadway. Hazard trees near public areas, like trails or parking lots, must be cut down, too. We’re also evaluating trees near debris cleanup work areas, in order to keep our crews safe.


Burned trees that are away from roads or cleanup work areas may still be a hazard if they’re on steep terrain. Burned trees on steep terrain can fall and roll down the hill, becoming dangerous projectiles. That’s why you might see hillsides being cleared of trees, especially on hills near roadways.


Interactive Map Remember, you can track the cleanup status with our online interactive maps. This map captures work being done including testing being conducted on specific properties. It helps to outline where we will be doing work at any given time.


If you’ve opted into our cleanup program, you can use the Address Lookup Map to see the status of your property using your access ID in the email or letter the task force sent you in December 2020. If you need assistance, call our hotline at 503.934.1700.


Meet us at Holiday Farm Fire’s Local Resource Fair!

Our Debris Management Task Force staff will attend the McKenzie River Resource Fair on Friday and Saturday, February 5th from 10am to 2pm and February 6th from 10am to 4pm. Staff will distribute handouts and contact information for local community members and answer questions about hazard tree marking and removal.

You can always contact us directly via our hotline, especially if you have a nuanced question about your property: call 503-934-1700 or email odot.wildfire@odot.state.or.us



Wildfire waste and debris removal

The State of Oregon is working with federal, state and local partners to remove hazardous waste, and ash and debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires safely, efficiently, and as quickly as possible. The Oregon Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality and Emergency Management are leading the effort, with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assistance.