Firefighters continue progress, reach 45 percent containment


Overnight, crews used infrared thermal imaging cameras to find hot spots

Day crews on the Sweet Creek Milepost 2 Fire pushed mop up 150 to 200 feet into the fire’s interior line Thursday. Aided by hand-held infrared thermal imaging cameras, night crews spent the night re-checking containment lines in hopes of extending mop up another 25 to 50 feet into the interior.

Firefighters were aided by overnight humidity levels predicted to reach 90 percent on some parts of the fire. In addition, Thursday night’s burn out operation on the northwest corner of the fire was successful. Helicopters are dropping water on that portion of the fire today to cool any remaining hot spots.

Crews found no spots outside the line.

As of Friday morning, containment has reached 45 percent. At Thursday evening’s briefing, the incident fire behavior specialist described very favorable conditions for continued suppression work on the fire. Low temperatures and high relative humidity, combined with predicted low wind speeds, will significantly decrease fire activity. Crews were again commended on the incident’s excellent safety record, though fire managers cautioned daytime winds have brought down snags within the fire perimeter.

Rolling debris loosened by the fire, including rocks, trees and vegetation, continue to challenge safe travel along Sweet Creek Road, which remains closed to all public traffic, as does the Siuslaw River from the Highway 126 Bridge in Mapleton to Tiernan Landing.

Evacuations remain in place on Hadsall Creek (Level 3: GO!), Sweet Creek Rd (Level 2: Be Set!) and Bernhardt Creek Rd and Duncan Island Road (Level 1: Be Ready!). For more information on evacuations and closures please visit https://www.lanecounty. org/news/sweetcreekfires.

The Red Cross is providing accommodations for those affected by the fire. To make emergency arrangements call 888-680-1455.

The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) has teamed up with a local community volunteer to place a particulate matter air sensor in the Mapleton Area. The sensor will contribute data to help LRAPA track air quality throughout Lane County. To learn more about the PurpleAir Monitor and see real-time data from Mapleton, visit http://www.lrapa.org/301/Particulate-Matter-Air-Sensors.

As the Labor Day weekend approaches, traffic is anticipated to increase, creating additional hazards for drivers and fire personnel. Fire managers and local officials would like to remind travelers driving through Mapleton on Highway 126 to allow extra time, drive slowly and be cautious of fire traffic.

Beginning today (Sept. 4), the incident management team will issue one fire update each day. Daily updates can be expected by 11 a.m.

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