Biscuit Fire still baking at nearly 472,000 acres; cost at $84.5 mil.; 6,607 people
IVN Contributing Writer
More than a month after the lightning strikes that marked the beginning of what would grow to become the 471,087-acre Biscuit Fire, the conflagration continues to claim additional acreage of the forest.
The evacuation notice for Illinois Valley residents was lifted on Friday, Aug. 16. An evacuation order for Curry County residents of Oak Flat and Spud Road was downgraded, although those residents are under evacuation notices.
Also in Curry County, pre-evacuation notices are still in effect for residents of Agness, Illahe, Cate Road, Gardner Ridge north of Wilson Prairie, the Upper Pistol river drainage near Gardner Ranch, and Wilderness Retreat.
As of Tuesday, Aug. 20, the fire was estimated at 50 percent containment. Zone 2, the portion of the Biscuit Fire in California is 100 percent contained; and weather conditions have aided firefighters in burn-out operations and lengthening fire lines.
Zone 1, the eastern side of the fire and closest in proximity to the Illinois Valley, has been estimated as being 50 percent contained, with burn-out operations being completed early on Monday morning, Aug.19. According to the fire information office, fire crews will continue to secure containment lines and start rehabilitation of control lines.
The Biscuit Fire continues to be the top priority fire in the Pacific Northwest, with 6,775 personnel dedicated to bringing the blaze to containment. The cost of fighting what is being called the largest fire in the past century of Oregon history was, as of Aug. 20, at $84,500,000.
Smoke and ash continue to plague the areas in proximity to the fire. Illinois Valley resident awoke to a significant ash coating cars and outside areas, as well as smoke. According to fire information officials, the ash was produced as back-burn operations continued and internal islands of the fire burned. The Tiller Complex fire in the Umpqua National forest added to the smoke layer that fogged the valley.
Health department advisories urge people to us caution in outdoor activities, especially children the elderly and people with heart and lung conditions.
Also with many more weeks of fire season in the future, and with the current fire danger levels being at their highest, officials are asking the public to use extreme caution.+