Wildfire Recovery Update - February 11, 2022
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General Operation Updates
For all intents and purposes, the majority of Task Force-led debris and hazard tree removal is complete, allowing next steps in recovery work such as rebuilding, reforestation, and housing and infrastructure development to begin or continue. While most debris removal operations are complete (99.9%), diligent steps continue on three remaining home sites to ensure full environmental and safety compliance, while also navigating weather constraints. With nearly 90,000 hazard trees cut or removed—nearly 92% of the total—and mostly complete, remaining hazard tree work will continue into the spring.
The House Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery invites wildfire survivors and those impacted by the 2020 fires to share their experience at a public hearing on February 15, 2022. The hearing is dedicated to listening to the feedback and stories of where people and communities are at in the long-term recovery process.
Another milestone in the process to re-open Highway 224 is complete. ODOT Region 1 has assumed management of the closure area and continues to perform close-out tasks such as installing guardrails and managing near-daily rockslides. ODOT has created a website where updates and other important information is shared about the closure area.
Debris Management Task Force leadership and staff completed an extensive After Action Review process in January. Focus areas included operations, contract administration, leadership structure, data management, communications, field operations and other critical components of success for the operation. A final report is expected in March.
By the Numbers
With a substantial amount of close-out work wrapping up and 99.9% of statewide debris removal complete, nearly 92% of statewide hazard tree removal work is also complete. For the purposes of these updates, fire areas are being considered complete with the acknowledgement that this includes pending cleanup of three remaining properties statewide and completing final close-out steps, while hazard tree work continues with county partners into the spring.
Below is a summary of the work that has been completed:
While weather will impact the pace of final completion steps, final completion letters continue to be sent to property owners and are captured as stars on the interactive map. Continue to track our progress data page (scroll down the webpage) for the latest updates and information.
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, with work paused in the Breitenbush area; hazard tree removal is 91% complete.
Hydro-mulch is being applied to properties in the final close-out stages. Hazard tree work along Highway 22 is nearly complete and all trees have been cut. “Punch list” cleanup is underway at MP 42 and snow/chip blowing is underway between MP 22 and Gates. With Marion County partners, hazard tree work on county roads, rights of way, and parks will continue into the spring. Task Force leadership will coordinate with the City of Detroit on road maintenance questions.
Echo Mountain Fire area (Lincoln County, Lincoln City area, Highway 18 and adjacent area):
Pending final safety inspections and hazard tree work on a single property, Task Force operations in the Echo Mountain Fire area are complete; hazard tree removal on private property is 95% complete.
Holiday Farm Fire area (Lane County, McKenzie River area, Highway 126): Ash and debris removal is complete while final close-out activities wrap up; hazard tree removal is 90% complete.
Hazard tree work continues, with a total of 50 assessed trees left to cut. Hazard tree removal work on county-maintained roads is halfway complete. Additional hazard tree work along county road and in parks has been requested.
Riverside Fire area (Estacada area, Clackamas County, Highways 224 and 211): Ash and debris removal work is complete; hazard tree removal is 96% complete.
Hazard tree cutting is mostly complete with tree hauling operations underway and the reassessment of 60 or so trees that have died since the summer. With Task Force operations mostly complete, ongoing closure coordination of OR-224 will be managed by ODOT Region 1. In partnership with Clackamas County, marking and cutting of hazard trees along county-maintained roads and easements will continue into the spring, starting along Family Camp Road south of Molalla.
Almeda Drive Fire area (Medford/Talent/Phoenix, Jackson County, Highway 99 and Interstate-5): Debris removal mostly complete with one property remaining, soil testing and hydro-mulch will follow; hazard tree removal is complete.
Work continues to support and assist Jackson County with area hazard trees.
Archie Creek Fire area (Douglas County, Highway 138): Ash and debris removal complete; hazard tree removal 88% complete.
Hazard tree cutting continues and will likely continue through March as crews navigate staff shortages and winter weather. Work continues to support and assist Douglas County with area hazard trees.
South Obenchain Fire area (Jackson County, northeast of Eagle Point, Highways 62 and 140): Ash and debris removal complete, pending final close-out activities; hazard tree removal 93% complete.
Crews will move from the Almeda Drive Fire area to complete close-out activities. Task Force management continues to coordinate with Jackson County to remove hazard trees along county-maintained roads in the area.
Thielsen Fire area (eastern Douglas County, Highway 138): Ash and debris removal N/A; hazard tree removal complete.
242 Fire area (Klamath County, Highways 62 and 97):
Ash and debris removal complete; hazard tree removal complete.
Topics of the Week
The House Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery heard from leaders of wildfire impacted communities on Monday, February 7. Community leaders shared progress made, work underway and potential needs. The committee will hear an update from Task Force leadership on wildfire cleanup work on the evening of February 14 followed by a public hearing the following night.
Oregon wildfire-impacted communities continue to grapple with the challenges of keeping their neighbors nearby. Read what the City of Talent is doing to keep its residents from relocating after the wildfires.
From the ashes and debris, communities are rebuilding the special places that bring community together. Read how Phoenix broke ground on a new playground that was lost to the Almeda Drive Fire.
As deadlines loom, the process for transitioning from temporary to more permanent housing remains fluid. In Southern Oregon, fire survivors in FEMA housing were granted a six-month extension.
Boulder, Colorado continues its recovery journey following the devastating winter fires that destroyed homes and entire areas of Boulder. Read what’s underway at the local level.
Air Quality Monitoring Report
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 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. As ash and debris removal nears completion and winter weather reduces air quality monitoring, there are no results to report this month.
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 Elizabeth.MCINTIRE@odot.oregon.gov.
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.