Weekly Update - June 4, 2021


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General Operation Updates


The independent arborist hired to review the Debris Management Task Force (Task Force) hazard tree operation and process has completed his report. This report will be released early next week through a press release and posted to the Task Force blog at www.DebrisCleanupNews.com. The independent contractor, Galen Wright, brings more than 30 years of Pacific Northwest arboriculture and forestry experience, including expertise in hazard tree analysis. We look forward to his findings and stand ready to implement any potential recommendations as part of our adaptive emergency response operation. In addition to Mr. Wright’s review, the hazard tree operation is part of the Oregon Secretary of State’s annual audit plan and ongoing internal reviews for continuous improvement.


Keep safety front and center this summer. With the arrival of fire season, more travelers on the roads, summer heat and the end of debris removal operations in sight, now is the time to double down on safety and caution. Please continue to keep yourself and your colleagues safe in the coming days, weeks and months. Remember, disrupting work sites or removing tags from fire-damaged trees is not only extremely dangerous, it’s also against the law.


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 6-18 months to complete all properties. In total, this work will require marking and cutting more than 140,000 hazard trees and removing ash and debris from more than 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 in Detroit, Gates and the surrounding area continues with 46% of home sites cleared. Moving from east to west, hazard tree work continues between mileposts 33-35 and 50-52, and at the water treatment facility off of Guy Road. We ask all motorists to use alternate routes and to expect delays.

  • Echo Mountain Fire area (Lincoln County, Lincoln City area, Highway 18 and adjacent area): With fewer than 20 home sites left to clear, work is nearly starting next week on 16 newly opted-in home sites.

  • Holiday Farm Fire area (Lane County, McKenzie River area, Highway 126): Debris removal and hazard tree operations are 53% complete and crews continue steady progress. Hazard tree removal work is complete at several local parks to allow for reopening. Hazard tree work continues at mileposts 32 and 34 and at other local and county parks. Travelers can expect long traffic delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.

  • Riverside Fire area (Estacada area, Clackamas County, Highways 224 and 211): 74% of debris removal work in the area is complete. Clackamas County and local partners announced a Right of Entry deadline and will continue to work with any remaining property owners wishing to participate. Hazard tree work continues between mileposts 35-36 and 45-46. Due to falling rocks, trees launching from steep slopes and other numerous safety hazards, Highway 224 remains closed.



Southern Operations


  • Almeda Drive Fire area (Medford/Talent/Phoenix, Jackson County, Highway 99 and Interstate-5): Seven crews are working on mobile home, single-family home and business sites. Hydro-mulching these cleared sites is a top priority this week and next as more completion letters are sent to property owners. Debris removal is estimated to be 84% complete. Hazard tree marking and removal continues along the Bear Creek Greenway and near fire-damaged home sites.

  • Archie Creek Fire area (Douglas County, Highway 138): Nearly half of participating home sites are cleared and crews expect to complete area debris cleanup sometime in July. Hazard tree cutting and removal continues at milepost 26.7, and with planning complete, hazard tree operations will continue to ramp up. Area crews are planning to relocate the large slash pile currently in the Glide area.

  • South Obenchain Fire area (Jackson County, northeast of Eagle Point, Highways 62 and 140): Planning and scoping work has begun and crews expect to begin the steps of debris removal on 16 home sites over the next two weeks.

  • Thielsen Fire area (eastern Douglas County, Highway 138): Crews are planning staging areas for machinery and fire-damaged hazard trees have been marked in preparation for cutting and removal slated to begin next week.

  • 242 Fire area (Klamath County, Highways 62 and 97): Crews continue to work with Oregon State Parks, the tribal community and other public land managers on best practices for navigating terrain constraints and accessing fire-damaged and marked trees in the area.




Topics of the Week


  • The Oregon House Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery heard a final update presentation from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Deputy Administrator Mac Lynde on Friday, May 28. As the last in a series of regular weekly updates, watch and hear the kudos shared with Mac about the progress and good work underway. The legislative session is scheduled to end on June 28.

  • Wildfire survivors in need of vital records can access them for free through the Oregon Health Authority as of June 1. Certified copies will be provided free of charge.

  • River users will continue to face challenges related to hazard trees in waterways, especially as the summer recreation season unfolds.

  • Like many fire areas, the McKenzie River corridor is open for tourism but tourists and visitors should brace for a very changed landscape as a result of the 2020 wildfires.

  • Task Force operations staff and crews continue to plan and coordinate with state and federal partners for work during the current wildfire season. Ongoing planning and strategies such as ensuring increased communication through radios and having water tankers on site are just a few of the planning efforts underway with the United States Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and other local partners. We’re calling on all Oregonians to be extra fire-wise to ensure that no more lives are lost to fires this year. While our crews help create fire resilient areas and defensible space on fire-damaged properties by removing adjacent hazard trees, take stock of your property before it’s too late. Bookmark Keep Oregon Green for more information and keep tabs on large fire activity in Oregon.

Air Quality Monitoring Report | 5/24 - 5/30


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: 5

  • Number of air samples collected: 19

  • Results above action level: 0

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

Archie Creek Fire

  • Number of properties that had air sampling: 2

  • Number of air samples collected: 6

  • 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: 2

  • Number of air samples collected: 3

  • 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 DMTF 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.