Wildfire Recovery Update - December 10, 2021
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General Operation Updates
The Debris Management Task Force (Task Force) wishes you a warm and happy holiday as we reflect on 2021 and look ahead to 2022. We thank Oregonians for their continued resilience and inspiration as we all navigate the arduous, multi-year wildfire recovery journey together. The spirit and grit we’ve seen from wildfire survivors this year is unmatched, and we are honored to play a part in helping fire-impacted communities rebuild for their next chapter.
With significant progress made to help keep Oregon travelers and communities safe, Task Force-led debris removal and hazard tree work is now complete in the OR-224 corridor. Moving forward, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Region 1 maintenance team has assumed management of the closure area to further address ongoing safety risks. Questions or comments related to the highway closure can be directed to ODOT Region 1 PIO Don Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org or ODOT District 2C Manager William Ewing at email@example.com.
Task Force-led debris removal and hazard tree operations continue to get closer to the finish line with a large majority of all work completed. While most debris removal operations are complete (98%)—or will be finished by the end of the year—diligent steps continue on select properties to ensure full environmental and safety compliance for property owners before determining an area or property lot fully complete. While snow and winter weather may impact the ongoing clean-up pace, any remaining hazard tree work will continue into 2022.
The holidays will bring a brief work pause for wildfire highway corridors. Primarily for OR-22, OR-126 and OR-138, operations will pause to allow for efficient holiday travel, though delays can still be expected. Travelers should check TripCheck for the most current conditions.
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 nearly 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 Ash and debris removal is complete on all properties, pending final close-out activities and property owner notifications; all hazard trees have been cut on OR-22, but work continues to finalize ditch cleanout and erosion-control operations.
Rock screening work will contribute to delays between the town of Detroit and the Detroit Dam. This work is essential to ensuring the safety of the corridor, and travelers should expect prolonged traffic delays. Six additional crews are working on hazard tree removal on county-maintained roads, rights of way and parks.
No hazard tree operations flagging will be in place from December 24 through January 2 and most work will be paused for the holiday period.
Echo Mountain Fire area Lincoln County, Lincoln City area, Highway 18 and adjacent area Pending a final walk through scheduled later this month, Task Force operations in the Echo Mountain Fire area are complete.
Holiday Farm Fire area Lane County, McKenzie River area, Highway 126 Ash and debris removal is complete on all properties pending final close-out activities.
Hazard tree removal work continues along OR-126 to address trees that did not survive the first year after the initial hazard assessment. Tree cutting crews will continue to move west down OR-126 with operations expected to be complete just after the new year. Hazard tree removal work on county-maintained roads continues with multiple crews finishing up work on Good Pasture Road.
Riverside Fire area Estacada area, Clackamas County, Highways 224 and 211 Private property ash and debris removal and hazard tree operations on OR-224 are complete.
With Task Force hazard tree operations on OR-224 wrapping up in December, ongoing closure coordination of OR-224 will be managed by ODOT Region 1 as maintenance staff complete guardrail and signage installation and roadway repairs. Marking and removal of hazard trees along Clackamas County-maintained road rights of way and easements will begin in the coming weeks.
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 on private properties.
Crews have mobilized to complete cleanup on the final 10 properties that enrolled later into the program prior to the enrollment deadline. This work is anticipated to be complete later this week, after which crews will move to the South Obenchain Fire area.
Archie Creek Fire area Douglas County, Highway 138 Debris removal complete, pending final close-out activities; hazard tree removal 83% complete.
Debris removal is complete on all current participating properties pending final close-out activities. Properties that enrolled later into the program prior to the enrollment deadline have now been cleared of ash and debris and hydro mulching occurred this week. All cleanup work is anticipated to be complete by the end of the year barring any operational disruptions.
Hazard tree removal is underway at three locations along OR-138E and will continue through the end of the year and likely into early 2022. Hauling, decking and chipping operations to the Glide industrial area are ongoing. The corridor continues to be congested as ODOT/Task Force crews continue work and as other organizations and jurisdictions complete their work before the harsher winter months.
South Obenchain Fire area Jackson County, northeast of Eagle Point, Highways 62 and 140 Debris removal complete, pending final close-out activities; hazard tree removal 88% complete on private properties.
Crews are scheduled to mobilize to complete cleanup on the final four properties that enrolled later into the program prior to the enrollment deadline. This work is anticipated to be complete by the end of December, with weather and logistics remaining a factor.
Task Force management is coordinating with Jackson County for tree removal along county-maintained roads primarily in this area, beginning in the new year.
Thielsen Fire area Eastern Douglas County, Highway 138 Debris removal N/A; hazard tree removal complete.
242 Fire area Klamath County, Highways 62 and 97 Debris removal complete; hazard tree removal complete.
This week marked the completion of debris cleanup and hazard tree removal operations in the 242 Fire area, making it the latest fire area to be completed in the Southern Oregon operation. Aside from minor administrative activities remaining, there is no further work anticipated and contractors have demobilized.
Topics of the Week
California completed debris removal work recently at Happy Camp following the 2020 Slater Fire. Both Oregon and California continue to plan for future events and share best practices and lessons learned as work wraps up in Oregon and areas of northern California.
Santiam Canyon resident Randall Tinney shared his touching story about rebuilding with the Task Force this fall. He was also recognized by the Oregon Department of Forestry for forest management work on his property.
The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board is accepting applications for 2020 Post-Wildfire Recovery Grants. The grants provide funding for eligible upland and riparian replanting efforts and floodplain restoration work and a long list of community partners are eligible to apply.
Air Quality Monitoring Report | 11/29 - 12/5
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: 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 Liz McIntire with the Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.