☑ Weekly Update - March 19, 2021


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

General Operation Updates


Safety remains a top priority for the Debris Management Task Force (DMTF).


Safety is built into everything we do. We work to ensure that crews always operate with caution and ask that communities use extreme caution when nearing work zones or traveling through fire-impacted areas. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in keeping Oregon safe while expecting traffic delays in impacted areas.


Task Force crews removed nearly 800 hazard trees in a week so that the McKenzie School District could once again open its doors and welcome students back.


We were proud to help support this important step for the McKenzie River community while providing students, staff and community members a safe learning environment. #McKenzieStrong


We want to ensure that every property owner impacted by the 2020 wildfires has the opportunity to participate before crews transition to other work sites.


Submitting a Right of Entry (ROE) agreement before, or when, crews arrive helps them to keep a swift pace and accelerate to future sites once work in a given area is complete. Please share this information with your neighbors to ensure property owners know where to turn and how to participate.

New tools continue to be updated on the DMTF interactive status map and dashboard page.

Starting this week, three-week forecast maps in PDF format were added to the page to help you track what’s happening now and what is forecast in the coming weeks. The site also explains how to easily read the maps.

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


  • Beachie Creek/Lionshead Fire areas (Santiam River corridor, primarily in Marion and Linn counties, Highway 22 and adjacent area): Crews continue debris removal on 20 sites in Detroit. 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 at mileposts 57-60 continues. As hazard tree removal work continues to ramp up, noticable differences in the landscape will be visible along the Highway 22 corridor.

  • Echo Mountain Fire area (Lincoln County, Lincoln City area, Highway 18 and adjacent area): Swift progress continues in the area with 35 sites now complete while hazard tree removal work continues at milepost 7 and on impacted properties. To allow our crews to maintain an accelerated pace, area property owners who have not opted into the debris removal program are strongly encouraged to submit a ROE agreement in the coming weeks if they have not already done so.

  • Holiday Farm Fire area (Lane County, McKenzie River area, Highway 126): Crews are receiving positive feedback from the community about work underway and progress being made. Crews have doubled as debris removal work continues, leading to increased traffic delays in the area. Hydro-seeding and hazard tree removal continues elsewhere, with significant hazard tree activity happening between mileposts 30-43. Hazard tree marking and removal continues at Ben and Kay Dorris State Park, where visitors will continue to see distinct differences in the landscape.

  • Riverside Fire area (Estacada area, Clackamas County, Highways 224 and 211): Recent heavy winds and falling rocks in the area led to increased safety awareness for crews. Hazard tree marking continues to progress as crews continue work between mileposts 41-48. Highway 224 east and southeast of Estacada, along the Clackamas River, remains closed.



Southern Operations

  • Almeda Drive Fire area (Medford/Talent/Phoenix, Jackson County, Highway 99 and I-5): Crews continue to remove debris from nine area mobile home parks as they transition work to all mobile home parks in the Medford/Talent/Phoenix area. A partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to clear sites for short-term housing is making quick progress. Work is also underway at Oak Crest Way, including 13 single-family home sites in Medford. Once all mobile home parks are cleared of debris, crews will begin working on other multi-family housing sites. Local officials continue fielding questions about sequence of work and which areas are given next priority. Air quality monitoring continues with results posted below. Crews have discovered that California debris cleanup crews are hauling debris to Oregon for processing, leading DMTF crews to carefully plan for and coordinate any possible daily landfill capacity issues.

  • Archie Creek Fire area (Douglas County, Highway 138): Debris removal work continues in the Rock Creek area and along Highway 138, with seven new sites upcoming. Crews are quickly clearing debris from the local fish hatchery to help accommodate fish runs. Hazard tree removal and marking continues in three areas at milepost 33 moving east, and at mileposts 24, 25 and 29 at multiple locations. Steep and difficult terrain require extra time in the area for safe staging and hauling. Travelers and local communities should expect traffic delays. Glide Revitalization will host a community town hall at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 25 at the Glide Baptist Church.

  • South Obenchain Fire area (Jackson County, northeast of Eagle Point, Highways 62 and 140): As operations in the Almeda Fire area progress outward from the Medford/Talent/Phoenix area, resources will shift to begin removing debris in this area. ROE agreements have been received and processed for approximately 16 properties in the area.

  • 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 mostly complete, with hazard tree work continuing at Collier State Park. Debris removal work has not yet begun in the area. DMTF staff continue working with tribal leaders to ensure operations respect cultural resources in the area.



Topics of the Week


The Oregon House Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery heard a weekly status update on March 15. The Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development also heard a presentation as part of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Ways and Means agency presentation.

In case you missed it, our colleagues from the natural resource State Recovery Function group (SRF 7) launched a new map showing the status of statewide recreation areas. Visit the map of major recreation areas throughout Oregon for information about closures and to help you plan ahead, avoid closed areas and recreate safely outdoors.

Choosing to tackle debris cleanup independently carries risk if all cleanup steps are not followed. Wildfire debris removal is a complex sequence of steps that must be followed to meet local, state and federal regulations. While we recommend all property owners impacted by the 2020 wildfires participate in the state cleanup program, we also want to ensure that those who choose not to participate have the information that they need to make informed decisions about their recovery plans.

Fire-impacted corridors continue to be extremely busy, and will be for the foreseeable future as many different 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. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and awareness that these corridors will look very different as this recovery work is completed. Expect traffic delays in these areas.

All hazard tree and debris removal work requires a sequence of steps. Similar to the debris removal process, removing hazard trees also must follow a sequence of steps starting with assessing and marking trees first before crews cut and remove dead or dying trees. This takes time to complete safely, but work is on track.

Learn how task force crews plan for and address potential erosion impacts as hazard trees are removed to keep Oregon communities safe. Measures are built into hazard tree removal operations to mitigate impacts.

Air Quality Monitoring Report | 3/8- 3/14


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: 8

  • Number of air samples collected: 33

  • 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: 9

  • 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: 3

  • Number of air samples collected: 8

  • 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: 1

  • Number of air samples collected: 3

  • 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.

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.