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Buckhead Complex Crews Start Burnout

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OAKRIDGE, Ore. — One-hundred and five acres are burning in the Buckhead Complex, but a lot of those crews now consist of successful burnouts.

A burnout is highly calculated. Wind temperature, humidity are all taken into account to ensure safety.

Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Division Supervisor Jose Mercado leads a safety briefing before his crews get the word conditions are a go for the burn. “What we need to do is to make sure ahead of these guys there’s a way out,” said Mercado.

They load up and then it’s lighting time, all the while moving in a line creating a perimeter.

“We have lookouts placed in different positions of the fire that way everyone knows what the fire is doing,” said Mercado. “You have to control what you’re putting down, so that’s all you have to remember,” added La Grande Firefighter Justin Rieke. “The North side of the fire has been successfully burned with a direct line,” said Mercado.

Two-hundred and eighty-eight people are working on the fires in the Buckhead Complex. Five helicopters are now attacking it from the sky. The Buckhead is 75 acres, the Evangeline 110. And because its grown, a number of roads, trails and the Oakridge Airport are closed.

“It can burn fast depending on how dry your fuels are,” said Rieke. As of Monday, the fire was 25 percent contained. “There’s a big area to burnout still,” said Mercado.

Much of the mountainside is successfully burned out, and the way you can tell is you want to just see black. Crews will go back to make sure no fires spark back up.

Incident Commander John Poet says at this point in time the fire is actually helping rid the forest of the accumulation of dead flammable debris so that future fires, even the drier conditions, will have lower risk of being catastrophic.

Closures:
Alpine Trail from Tire Mtn. Trail to Westfir Tie Trail
North Fork Trail from Office Bridge trail head to jct. w/ Rd 1919
Forest Road 5828
Forest Road 1910
Forest Road 1925
No stopping or parking along Forest Road 19 between mp 3.1 and mp. 16
Oakridge Airport
Temporary Flight Restriction in place above the Buckhead Fire

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