Weekly Update - October 22, 2021
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General Operation Updates
Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan released an advisory report that found “the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) appears to be doing well managing the hazardous tree removal cleanup from the 2020 wildfires”. The conclusions of the review solidify that as an emergency response operation built to adapt and change over time, the work of the Debris Management Task Force (Task Force) has remained nimble and has evolved to respond to the needs of wildfire survivors, operational discoveries in the field, emergency management best practices, and important Oregon values such as community safety, local jobs, a diverse workforce, and environmental stewardship. The review also serves as a definitive summary of the massive undertaking accomplished to provide the critical first step towards recovery for Oregon’s fire-impacted communities and confirms the organizational blueprint established for years to come in the event of future disasters. Read the Task Force management response here.
The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) announced that by Friday, Oct. 22 all ODF districts and forest protective associations will be out of fire season. “This summer had the potential to be another devastating fire season in southern Oregon,” Acting ODF Southwest District Forester Tyler McCarty said. “Despite that, ODF Southwest is thankful for the season we had – busy, but successful.” The last three ODF districts in fire season – the Klamath-Lake District, Northeast Oregon District and Walker Range Forest Patrol Association – have announced their fire seasons will end on Friday, Oct. 22.
By the Numbers
Step 2 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 100,000 hazard trees and removing ash and debris from more than 3,000 participating lots, including individual home and commercial property sites.
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.
Beachie Creek/Lionshead Fire areas Santiam River corridor, primarily in Marion and Linn counties, Highway 22 and adjacent area Debris removal 85% complete; hazard tree removal 74% complete
Hazard tree cutting and removal work is underway at mileposts 57 and 60 and slash processing crews are active at mileposts 29 and 33. Demolition crews are performing work at the Detroit water system tank and crews continue ash and debris removal work and closeout on remaining properties.
Echo Mountain Fire area Lincoln County, Lincoln City area, Highway 18 and adjacent area Debris removal nearly 93% complete; hazard tree removal 74% complete
(remainder of trees are on final remaining sites)
Ash and debris work is nearly complete with hazard tree crews completing final removal on participating properties with work anticipated to be complete in the coming weeks.
Holiday Farm Fire area Lane County, McKenzie River area, Highway 126 Debris removal 93% complete; hazard tree removal along Highway 126 complete
(remaining hazard trees are on debris removal sites and along county-managed roads)
Hazard tree removal work is underway on county roads near Good Pasture and McKenzie Roads. Ash and debris crews continue work on the small number of remaining properties.
Riverside Fire area Estacada area, Clackamas County, Highways 224 and 211 Debris removal complete awaiting final close-out steps; hazard tree removal 68% complete
Hazard tree cutting work continues and is nearing completion on Highway 224. Additional rock scaling operations, fencing installation and roadway repairs must be completed prior to reopening.
Almeda Drive Fire area Medford/Talent/Phoenix, Jackson County, Highway 99 and Interstate 5
Debris removal complete, pending final close-out activities; hazard tree removal 88% complete
Archie Creek Fire area Douglas County, Highway 138 Debris removal complete, pending final close-out activities; hazard tree removal 63% complete
Hazard tree work is underway at mileposts 22 to 33 and sloped tree removal operations are occurring at 44 to 45. Debris removal is complete on all current participating properties pending final close-out activities. Properties that opted-in late will soon be placed on a work order for ash and debris removal. Hauling, decking and chipping operations to the Glide industrial area are ongoing. The Highway 138 corridor will become increasingly busy in the coming weeks as ODOT/Task Force crews ramp up work following eased fire restrictions and as other organizations and jurisdictions complete their work before the winter months.
South Obenchain Fire area Jackson County, northeast of Eagle Point, Highways 62 and 140 Debris removal complete.
Task Force management are in coordination with Jackson County for removal of trees along county-managed roads primarily in the South Obenchain fire area later in the Fall or winter.
Thielsen Fire area Eastern Douglas County, Highway 138 Operation complete; all contractors have demobilized
242 Fire area Klamath County, Highways 62 and 97 Debris removal 53% complete on the total 17 properties; hazard tree removal 56% complete
Crews will begin hazard tree removal work along Highway 97 next week. Ash and debris crews have mobilized into the area and started work on completing final debris removal on the remaining seven properties.
Topics of the Week
ODOT Director Kris Strickler reflects on a year of wildfire cleanup and recovery.
The Osprey chicks rescued from the Holiday Farm Fire area were released into the wild near Florence, Oregon. Watch the raptors take their first flight.
The Jackson County Community Long Term Recovery Group (JCC LTRG) is seeking to contact Almeda and South Obenchain wildfire survivors to understand their unmet needs through a Needs Assessment Survey.
October 21 was International ShakeOut Day, the world’s largest collective earthquake drill. Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) hosted a ShakeOut webinar and Facebook Live event featuring OEM Geologic Hazards Program Coordinator Althea Rizzo.
Air Quality Monitoring Report | 10/4 - 10/17
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:
Number of properties that had air sampling: 4
Number of air samples collected: 21
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 Liz McIntire with the Task Force at email@example.com.
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.