Blaze that began near valley believed largest in Oregon recorded in history
Sherri Hopper – IVN
Now the largest fire in Oregon’s recorded history, the fire that started on July 13 as five smaller lightning-caused fires has evolved into one 378,865-acre blaze that continues to pose a threat to a number of communities.
The fire acreage extends from approximately 10 miles inland from Brookings on the coast, east to Illinois Valley, and on the north side it is within a few miles of the Rogue River, and south into Northern California. The fire, portions of which began in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, has over taken a majority of the wilderness area.
Initially dubbed the Biscuit Complex, comprised of the Sour Biscuit and Florence fires, confusion regarding the location of the fire has motivated fire officials to rename the fire as the Biscuit Fire.
Currently there are 6,383 personnel assigned to the Biscuit Fire with the cost associated for the entire fire so far at $48 million.
Fire officials state that the fire is 25 percent contained with that containment being chiefly on the east side of the fire.
The evacuation notice for residents of the Illinois Valley continues to be downgraded, with residents living under a 12-hour notice since Friday, Aug. 9.
A new fire start in the Whiskey Creek area was contained at 2 acres, while containment and mop-up continue on a 400 acre slop-over that is 5 miles southwest of O’Brien. The Whiskey Creek area continues to be one of the active portions of the fire.
The Biscuit Fire has been divided into 4 separate zones with each being managed by a separate incident management team.
Fire line construction continues, as do burn-out operations. Coordinated efforts between the Zone One and Zone Four Management continues in order to slow the advance of the main for toward the community of Agness.
Pre-evacuation notice is in effect for the residents of Agness, Illahe, Oak Flat, Cate Road, Gardner Ridge (a few miles up the Chetco River from Brookings), Wilderness Retreat, north of Wilson Prairie and most recently Pistol River.
Valleys around the perimeter of the fire continue to be plagued by smoke and can expect the situation for some time to come.
Hot and dry weather, along with unpredicted winds, have hampered progress along northern portions of the fire. It is hoped that a change in weather on Thursday, Aug. 15 to cooler, moister conditions will assist in the fire efforts.
The majority of the east side of the fire, closest to the Illinois Valley has been quiet, with firefighters continuing to patrol and mop up inside the fire lines.