Weekly Update - August 6, 2021


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General Operation Updates


Nearly one year after the September 2020 wildfires, significant progress towards recovery continues, ahead of the initial estimated 18-month timeline. With debris removal complete in many fire areas—pending final soil sampling results and hydromulching activities—and hazard tree evaluations almost complete statewide, fire-impacted property owners participating in the state cleanup program continue to receive completion letters providing the green light for rebuilding and starting a new chapter. As debris continues to be cleared, the final close-out stages do require some added time to ensure everything is properly in order for rebuilding, and we’re here to help should anyone have questions about their situation. Track our interactive progress map for more information about a specific area or call our hotline any time at 503-934-1700.


By the Numbers


Step 2 of removing tree hazards began in December 2020 and will progress through multiple impacted areas simultaneously. We estimate it will take up to 18 months to complete all properties. In total, this work will require marking and cutting more than 150,000 hazard trees and removing ash and debris from nearly 1,400 participating properties.


Below is a summary of the work that has been completed thus far:




Current “By the Numbers” updates are available on the debris and tree removal data dashboard. The interactive status map on the same page provides a visual of all work underway.


Northern Operations


Beachie Creek/Lionshead Fire areas Santiam River corridor, primarily in Marion and Linn counties, Highway 22 and adjacent area Debris removal 50% complete; hazard tree removal 45% complete

  • Hazard tree cutting and removal work is underway at mileposts 37, 39, and 55, and on private properties in the area.

Echo Mountain Fire area Lincoln County, Lincoln City area, Highway 18 and adjacent area Debris removal 90% complete; hazard tree removal 61% complete

(remainder of trees are primarily on property sites participating in the state program)

  • With more properties opting in since the cleanup deadline, work is nearly complete while a few areas await household hazardous waste and property hazard tree removal.

Holiday Farm Fire area Lane County, McKenzie River area, Highway 126 Debris removal 80% complete; hazard tree removal 75% complete

  • Hazard tree assessment and removal work is underway at milepost 31 and on private properties where crews are removing debris, and on Blue River Road.


Riverside Fire area Estacada area, Clackamas County, Highways 224 and 211 Debris removal 66% complete; hazard tree removal 19% complete

  • Due to falling rocks, trees launching from steep slopes and other numerous safety hazards, Highway 224 remains closed, but crews continue to work quickly in efforts to reopen the highway. Crews continue to experience wildfire smoke in the area.



Southern Operations


Almeda Drive Fire area Medford/Talent/Phoenix, Jackson County, Highway 99 and Interstate 5 Debris removal 99% complete; hazard tree removal 60% complete (remaining hazard trees primarily on private properties participating in the program)

  • Debris removal work continues to be on track for completion this month, pending final soil testing and hydro-mulching close-out steps. Debris removal work is underway on S. Pacific Highway, Lithia Avenue and Rose Street this week. To date, 447,580,574 pounds (223,790 tons) of ash and debris have been cleared from the Almeda and Obenchain fire areas.

Archie Creek Fire area Douglas County, Highway 138 Debris removal nearly complete; hazard tree removal 34% complete

  • Work has resumed after brief pauses and road closures due to fire activity. Debris removal is complete on all current participating properties and work is underway on properties recently opting-into the state program. Hazard tree helicopter operations continue at milepost 23.

South Obenchain Fire area Jackson County, northeast of Eagle Point, Highways 62 and 140 Debris removal 100% complete; hazard tree removal on private property 81% complete

  • Cleanup in the Obenchain Fire area is forecast to be completed in the coming week.


Thielsen Fire area Eastern Douglas County, Highway 138 Debris removal N/A; hazard tree removal 93% complete

  • The Thielsen Fire area operation is forecast to be complete in the coming week.

242 Fire area Klamath County, Highways 62 and 97 Debris removal 30% complete; hazard tree removal 42% complete

  • Work in the 242 Fire area is currently paused due to high fire risk and activity, or what are known as IFPL 4 conditions.


Topics of the Week


Air Quality Monitoring Report | 7/26 - 8/1


Local environmental health is one of our top priorities. In addition to conducting required asbestos testing in an efficient manner for all debris removal home sites, state contractors are visually monitoring and controlling dust to protect air quality during ash and debris cleanup work. If dust issues occur, our crews will stop work and fix the issue before resuming to protect public health. You can view the latest soil sampling FAQs on our news page. Questions about dust from private contractors are not part of state cleanup work and can be directed to local city and county public health departments.


Each week, contractors report their visual monitoring results, and the testing labs report their sample test results for active work areas. Recent results include:


Almeda Fire

  • Number of properties that had air sampling: 3

  • Number of air samples collected: 12

  • Results above action level: 0

  • Visual monitoring: no recorded dust levels that exceeded action levels

Beachie Creek Fire

  • Number of properties that had air sampling: 3

  • Number of air samples collected: 7

  • Results above action level: 0

  • Visual monitoring: no recorded dust levels that exceeded action levels

Riverside Fire

  • Number of properties that had air sampling: 5

  • Number of air samples collected: 11

  • Results above action level: 0

  • Visual monitoring: no recorded dust levels that exceeded action levels


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The “action level” is the threshold for action at a site, or from a lab test result. Learn more about action levels, how we control dust and test air samples in our air quality monitoring FAQ.


For specific air quality monitoring data, email Liz McIntire with the Task Force at elizabeth.mcintire@odot.state.or.us.

If you have questions about hazard tree removal in your community, our hotline can help point you in the right direction. Please access information from your local county government first, and then call our hotline at 503-934-1700 if you need more information.

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.