Editor’s note: In his August column, Chief Walker wrote about his first-hand observations of the Wallow Fire, which occurred in Arizona during May through July.
Unfortunately, the chief could not prepare a September column because his Interagency Management Team was summoned to the Umpqua Complex Fire in Oregon. At 680 acres, the Umpqua Complex includes multiple fires on the Diamond Lake Ranger District and in the Steamboat drainage on the North Umpqua Ranger District.
The following is brief report of his first days there.
The fire camp (which was only completed late yesterday) is located at the historical Toketee Airstrip on the Diamond Lake Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest.
The complex consists of eight lightning-caused fires ranging in size from 5 acres to 250 acres and we have approximately 500 firefighters assigned.
The trees here average 150 to 200 feet tall and run from 500 to 1,000 stems per acre of old growth. Progress is slow because the topography is very steep.
Our team is also responsible for new [fire] starts. There has been a lot of lightning since Aug. 24 so new fires are popping up every day.
Our commitment will be another five to eight days if the weather cooperates and we can get four more Hot Shot Crews.