August 9, 2013
Office of State Fire Marshal
Late Thursday evening Governor John Kitzhaber declared the Grouse Mountain fire, burning just outside the city of John Day, a conflagration. The declaration authorized the state fire marshal to mobilize structural firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire and working to protect structures. Approximately 75 structures are threatened.
The conflagration request was made by Grant County Fire Defense Board Chief Ron Smith.
The state fire marshal's office has activated command and control elements of the Blue Incident Management team to manage the structural protection resources that have been deployed.
Three structural task forces have been activated to assist. A combined task force from Baker and Union counties is currently on scene. A second task force from Yamhill Counties is on their way to the fire.
The Grouse Mountain Fire is one of a number of fire starts in Grant County called the GC Complex ("GC" for Grant County) from Wednesday, August 7. The fire made a significant push early yesterday evening when wind direction abruptly changed. Aided by strong north winds, fire runs have approached the limits of John Day along the northern boundary of the city. At this time, there is no report of any damage to structures.
The fire is east of Highway 395, which remains open, but fire-related traffic in the area may be heavy.
Current weather forecasts predict continued chances for lightning and erratic winds through the weekend. Safety hazards for fire fighters include rattlesnakes and falling snags.
The cause of the Grouse Mountain Fire remains under investigation.
Oregon's conflagration may be invoked only by the Governor and allows the State Fire Marshal to dispatch structural firefighters and equipment. More information on Conflagration and Emergency and emergency mobilization is OSFM website: http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/Oregon_Mob_Plan.shtml. Additional resources on surviving wildfires may be accessed at: http://www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/docs/Comm_Ed/WUI/After_a_wildfire.pdf