☑ Weekly Update - March 12, 2021


We’re all in this together. Please help share this information with your networks and communities.

General Operation Updates


Just beyond two months into Step 2 cleanup work, most prep work is completed as the pace and number of home sites cleaned continues to climb. We understand that no pace is fast enough, so helping Oregon communities recover and rebuild as swiftly as possible drives everyone involved in this work.


In the past week, 183 new home sites were cleared for a total of 472 home sites to date. Operations will continue to accelerate in the coming months as we move into warmer, drier weather. Work crews in the field have doubled, environmental assessments continue to be streamlined where possible and crews continue finding creative ways to save time by processing metal debris on site when possible, among other ways to save time and resources.


The Debris Management Task Force (DMTF) keeps finding creative ways to help communities through recovery work.


DMTF staff and crews continue to find ways to give back to Oregon. From pivoting operations so that sites can be cleared for short-term housing in southern Oregon or donating firewood to help families warm their homes to adjusting work plans to remove hazard trees ASAP so that classes can resume at the McKenzie School District campus, we’re working hard to get you up and running quickly.


With work accelerating quickly, the DMTF hotline continues to reach out to property owners about upcoming debris removal work in their area.


While exact dates and times are difficult to predict, updates from the hotline help support those without internet access and reflect our commitment to customer service for Oregonians. For more general information, these status updates can be tracked on the interactive status map and through these weekly operations updates on our news blog.


We want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate in Step 2 cleanup before work wraps up in their community.


We want to help as many property owners as possible before work wraps up in their area while also making sure our crews can move quickly to help all Oregonians in need. Submitting a Right of Entry (ROE) agreement before or when crews arrive helps keep this work moving quickly so crews don’t have to backtrack to an already completed area.

By the Numbers


We estimate it will take between 6-18 months to complete work on all properties. In total, this work will require marking and cutting more than 290,000 hazard trees and removing ash and debris from more than 1,500 participating properties.


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





Current “By the Number” 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


  • Riverside Fire area (Estacada area, Clackamas County, Highways 224 and 211): Heavy winds in steep slope areas and falling rocks created momentary pauses in work and challenges for crews. Hazard tree marking continues while crews continue to move and “chip” branches and woody debris. Hazard tree work was completed ahead of schedule in what were Spotted Owl nesting areas to avoid nesting season. Ash and debris removal prep work continues. Highway 224 east and southeast of Estacada, along the Clackamas River, remains closed.

  • Echo Mountain Fire area (Lincoln County, Lincoln City area, Highway 18 and adjacent area): Swift progress continues as crews continue to average 1.5 to two home sites cleaned each day. Hazard tree removal work on impacted properties continues to make way so that debris removal work can start. Ash and debris removal work is fully underway and moving quickly, with more cleaned sites added to the map each day.

  • Beachie Creek/Lionshead Fire areas (Santiam River corridor, primarily in Marion and Linn counties, Highway 22 and adjacent area): Crews continue debris removal work on 20 sites in Detroit while early phases of debris removal work are underway in the Gates area and elsewhere in the corridor, including environmental testing and chimney-tipping activities. Hazard tree marking on impacted properties and the surrounding area continues, and hazard tree removal will begin to ramp up more visibly along the Highway 22 corridor.

  • Holiday Farm Fire area (Lane County, McKenzie River area, Highway 126): Crews have doubled in the area as ash and debris removal work continues. In order to get schools up and running fast, crews prioritized removing nearly 800 hazard trees in less than a week near the McKenzie School District campus. Community members and travelers will continue to see stark differences in the landscape as hazard tree removal continues in areas including Ben and Kay Dorris Park. Hazard tree work was completed ahead of schedule in former Spotted Owl nesting areas to avoid nesting season.



Southern Operations

  • Archie Creek Fire area (Douglas County, Highway 138): Debris removal work continues in the Rock Creek area with seven new sites upcoming. Crews are rapidly clearing debris from a local fish hatchery to help accommodate fish runs. Hazard tree removal work continues with tree marking happening at Milepost 33 moving east, and hazard tree marking and removal continuing between mileposts 21-25 and 27-29 at multiple locations. Our crews will need some extra time in this area because of the steep, difficult terrain. A more deliberate pace, especially when staging and hauling the logs, keeps everyone safe.

  • Thielsen Fire area (eastern Douglas County, Highway 138): Due to higher elevation snow, operations will increase later this spring focused on hazard tree removal in warmer weather. Contractor coordination and planning work continues.

  • 242 Fire area (Klamath County, Highways 62 and 97): Hazard tree marking is complete. Fortunately, there are not many fire-impacted properties in the area, so debris removal work has not begun. DMTF staff continue working with tribal leaders to align operations that respect cultural resources in the area. A group including tribal leaders, Oregon Parks and Recreation staff and DMTF crews continues to meet to efficiently remove hazard trees at Collier State Park.

  • Almeda Drive Fire area (Medford/Talent/Phoenix, Jackson County, Highway 99 and I-5): 16 crews are working in eight different mobile home parks and will soon be working in all mobile home parks in the Medford/Talent/Phoenix area with the addition of seven more parks coming next. Work is underway at Oak Crest Way, which includes 13 single-family home sites in southern Medford. Once all mobile home parks have been cleared of debris, crews will begin clearing debris from multi-family housing sites. Air quality monitoring continues, and asbestos testing is nearly complete, allowing for quick transitions to debris removal. Some older mobile home parks have presented asbestos testing challenges, requiring additional time for excavating work.



Topics of the Week

The Oregon House Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery heard a weekly status update from DMTF Leader Mac Lynde on Monday, March 8. Information included an update on cleanup status in various regions and a look ahead at work coming in the next three weeks. DMTF leadership also hosted a twice-monthly legislative forum discussion on Monday.

Lane County Government hosted a Facebook Live event Thursday, March 11. Speakers provided updates on hazard tree removal and other work in the community, followed by an opportunity for questions which included tree felling and removal, tree marking, rebuilding fees, permitting and testing.

McKenzie School District Superintendent Lane Tompkins gave a brief update after DMTF crews prioritized clearing the district campus. An assessment from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) arborists identified around 800 hazard trees nearby, which crews worked quickly to clear to help the school reopen. “The campus looks a little bit different, but we know that it’s safe for students and for the community,” Tompkins said. “And we’re just looking forward to having students return.”

Fire-impacted road corridors will continue to be extremely busy for the foreseeable future. We appreciate your cooperation and awareness in knowing that these corridors will look different as critical recovery work is completed. Many jurisdictions, including utilities and local governments, share limited space to remove hazard trees, set staging sites, remove ice storm damage and manage vehicle activity to accommodate this work. Please expect traffic delays in these areas.

All hazard tree and debris removal work requires a series of steps. As in the property cleanup graphic above, hazard tree removal must also follow a sequence of steps starting with assessing and marking trees before crews can cut and remove dead or dying trees. This takes time, but work is well underway.


Air Quality Monitoring Report | 3/1- 3/7


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: 9

  • Number of air samples collected: 41

  • 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: 1

  • Number of air samples collected: 3

  • Results above action level: 0

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

Echo Mountain 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

Holiday Farm 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


***


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 Matt Noble, Public Affairs Specialist for the Debris Management Task Force, at matt.a.noble@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.

Free 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.

About the Debris Management Task Force
and debris cleanup process

Wildfire cleanup is a two-step process

The State of Oregon is working with federal, state and local partners to safely and efficiently remove hazard trees and debris resulting from the wildfires that devastated Oregon in late summer 2020. The Oregon Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality and Emergency Management are jointly leading this effort as the Debris Management Task Force.

For general questions, contact the debris cleanup hotline at 503-934-1700 or email: odot.wildfire@odot.state.or.us.

For questions about contracting opportunities, contact Feather Sams Huesties at feather.sams-huesties@odot.state.or.us.


wildfire.oregon.gov

  • flickr-circular-logo_318-40682
  • YouTube
  • Twitter

© 2023 by 2020 Oregon Wildfire Recovery – Wildfire Cleanup and Debris Removal