B and B Complex fire update: 6 p.m. Sunday

6:00 p.m.
For Fire Information (Sisters Camp): 541-549-8280
Web address: www.bandbcomplex.com
Engines 79 Crews 65 Helicopters 12 Total Personnel 2,292
Size 49,130 acres Cause Unknown Containment 40% Cost $11,256,000
Current Situation
· Fire behavior was very active today with torching, spotting, and passive crowning.
· Short range spotting occurred up to a distance of a 1/2 mile.
· Five distinct smoke columns were observed in the afternoon.
· Fire camp will begin moving to the rodeo grounds tomorrow. The rodeo grounds will officially become home for
the firefighters on Tuesday, September 1.
Residents and Meetings
· Information meeting are held daily at 10:00 a.m., located at the Red Cross Evacuation Center in the Sisters
Christian Church, 302 Main Street.
· Camp Sherman residents north of the FS 1217 road remain evacuated.
· Highway 20 over the Santiam Pass reopened at 9:00 a.m. today after being closed since August 19th. Delays or
re-closures due to fire conditions are possible. Restrictions to ensure safe travel include: speed of 45 mph, no
stopping or parking except for emergencies, and no access will be permitted to recreational areas or to the
National Forest within the burn area. Motorists should watch for fire suppression vehicles and other hazards such
as trees, rocks and smoke.
Fire Details
Booth Fire -38,558 Acres
· The Booth fire is burning on the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests in mixed conifer, lodgepole pine, and
bug-killed timber.
· The fire made significant runs in the Eight Lakes Basin within the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area north of Three
Fingered Jack.
· Crews continued work to establish a contingency line north along the 1230 road.
· Mop-up operations continue in several divisions.
Bear Butte Fire – 10,572 Acres
· The Bear Butte fire is burning on the Deschutes National Forest, the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and in the
Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area.
· The Bear Butte fire is approximately 3 miles north of the Booth fire.
· A new spike camp will serve the firefighters working in the north end of the fire.
· Fire behavior in the Bear Valley is transitioning from individual to group tree torching.
· The fire continues to burn in the headwaters of Jefferson Creek and Sugarpine Ridge.
· Additional crews were moved to the north flank of the fire to assist with mop-up activities.
Please refer to the morning update for evacuations and closures.

Bi-Mart’s arrival major milestone for La Pine

La PINE – Byron Cram and his two friends, Marv Johnston and Gordon Edward, led the pack of hundreds of enthusiastic shoppers who lined up bright and early one recent weekday morning to get first pick at the new Bi-Mart store in La Pine. The three said it would be memorable to know they were the first customers to set foot in the new store.

“We thought we wanted to be the first in line,” said Cram. “Actually, we wanted the hat.”

The first 500 customers through the door at 9 a.m. on opening day, Aug. 13 were awarded with a Bi-Mart hat. Residents began lining up three hours early. For this small town, the grand opening was big news for people who have had to drive 25 miles into Bend for even the most basic necessities.

“This will be the first time you can buy underwear in La Pine!” said Larry Pearce, president of the La Pine Chamber of Commerce. Fellow chamber board member Bob Cox laughingly reminded Pearce, “No, let’s say ‘personal items.'”

Deschutes County commissioners Mike Daly and Tom DeWolf were also on hand for the grand opening. “It may save some lives,” said Daly, in regards to wintertime driving.

That not only includes shoppers, but employees. The store hired close to 60 employees, with a few transfers from Bend store employees who live in La Pine. Unlike most retail outlets, which hire mostly part-time employees to avoid the costs of benefits, the majority of Bi-Mart’s 3,000 employees are full-time. Employees are eligible for health, dental and optical coverage, plus a 401(k) plan.

Don Leber, Bi-Mart’s director of advertising, credits this hiring philosophy for its rare low turnover rate. “Our employees are with us for 10 to 15 years, on average … Almost all of our management team are people who moved up in the company,” he said.

La Pine resident Jayne Benner also sees Bi-Mart as an anchor business for the area. “This is enhancing all of the good business in La Pine,” she said.

“We hope to partner up with other local businesses to help them in their own marketing,” said Leber. In such case, customers presenting a Bi-Mart membership card would be given discounts at other local businesses.

Firm helps community causes

The corporation is also known for making generous donations to the communities its stores are based in.

“We try to do as much as we can,” said Leber. “Being a low-margin, high-volume corporation, we don’t have millions to spend, so we’ve got to be prudent and diligent in our donations…. We always support the United Way, because it supports so many groups throughout counties. We also have a chain-wide Red Cross fundraiser. We may sponsor a school carnival or senior graduation party. They may not be large in dollar amount singly, but they are in total.”

Amid numerous corporate retail closures, the Eugene-based Bi-Mart has survived – and thrived – on its small-town and neighborhood focus.

“There wasn’t anybody servicing small towns,” said Leber. “There were stores that had things people ‘wanted,’ but not needed. By being there, we’re gonna save you time and money.”

Because of the stores’ size (about 30,000 square feet), Bi-Mart can’t carry all merchandise, such as clothing, but Leber said the store’s everyday low prices are what helps make Bi-Mart successful. “We don’t put a handful of items on sale and mark up everything else; the prices on all of our items are consistently low.”

Similar to Costco, only Bi-Mart members may shop at the store. However, Bi-Mart members only pay a one-time $5 fee for a lifetime membership. The store touts a membership of approximately 1.3 million membership families, according to Leber.

While many of its competitors are shutting down, Bi-Mart continues to build. In the past two years, retail giants Kmart and Montgomery Ward both filed bankruptcy; Kmart closed 326 stores nationwide, including two in Oregon, and Ward closed 250 stores in 30 states. Troutman’s Emporium, based out of Eugene, also filed bankruptcy and closed the doors on 34 stores in five states earlier this year, including one at Bend’s Mountain View Mall.

On the other hand, Bi-Mart has opened several new stores recently, making the La Pine store its 63rd. Other new locations include Junction City and Veneta, both located just outside of Eugene.

‘High Hopes’

However, with the increasing popularity of “nodes” in recent years, Leber said Bi-Mart is now able to successfully service larger cities as well. Nodes are mini-commercial developments that serve as close-to-home one-stop shopping solutions for specific neighborhoods.

For example, a node may include a drycleaners, grocery store, hair salon and discount store. The next store will open in Havre, Mont. – the first for the state. Bi-Mart also hopes to expand into Idaho.

At the grand opening, Bi-Mart President and CEO Marty Smith addressed his newest employees. “You folks have one chance to show the folks in La Pine why they should shop with us,” he said. “Treat these customers as if they were guests in your home.”

As Smith closed the introductions and speeches, he said, “My favorite sound, after you folks laughing, is the sound of the cash registers starting.”

Retiree Renee McTyague, who recently moved to La Pine from California after recovering from brain surgery, danced around and sang at the top of her lungs: “We got a Bi-Mart, We got a Bi-Mart, We got a high apple pie, in the Bi-Mart!” to the tune of “We’ve Got High Hopes.”

“This is the greatest thing that has happened to La Pine yet,” said Larry Pearce.

Westside power substation fight goes public

A year after Pacific Power went public with its need to build a substation on Bend’s fast-growing Westside – and its problems in reaching agreement with NorthWest Crossing on the price to pay for that piece of land – condemnation proceedings are quietly under way, with arbitration expected to occur this fall.

But the utility already has been able to use its “eminent domain” powers to reach agreement with a neighboring property owner, the Westside Church, for temporary access to the 1.5-acre site. And now a city land-use process is under way for permission to build the facility, Bend’s seventh substation but the first west of the Deschutes River.

NorthWest Crossing officials were in the audience at a packed, 2 ½-hour hearing on the project last week before a city hearings officer, but they didn’t say a word – they didn’t need to. Instead, about 30 neighbors living to the east, in the Newport Hills subdivision, showed up with their lawyer to voice their concerns, and several testified that the substation would significantly harm their views, lifestyle and property values.

Several neighbors urged city Hearings Officer Tim Elliott to order Pacific Power to move the substation about 200 feet or more to the north of where it wants to put the 200-by-200-foot substation, with structures up to 28 feet tall, and surrounded by a 10-foot-tall concrete “soundwall.”

It wasn’t a far-fetched idea – indeed, city Senior Planner Heidi Kennedy, in her staff report issued a week earlier, had recommended that the substation be pushed 100 feet north of its planned location, “to minimize the impact on scenic values of the existing residential neighbors to the south and southeast.”

But the utility is fighting any such move of the facility, claiming it would be in a tighter spot to the north, leaving less room for landscaping to buffer the site. It notes a planned road west of the parcel in NorthWest Crossing that impinges on any landscaping or other plans.

“PacifiCorp has a legal obligation to provide its customers with adequate and safe power,” said Tamara MacLeod, attorney for PacifiCorp (Pacific Power’s parent). And she said the utility had looked at several possible Westside sites for the substation, finding the proposed location to be the best, in part because it is located on a transmission line and won’t require installing additional distribution lines.

“We tried to be good neighbors,” holding several neighborhood meetings once a site was chosen, while seeking “to minimize impacts to neighbors,” MacLeod said.

Proposed site both commercial, residential

One complicating factor is that the proposed site for the substation is about 60 percent on residentially zoned land, to the south, and 40 percent on commercial land, to the north. Dave Williams, a consultant to PacifiCorp with Hickman Williams & Associates, presented some alternatives the utility doesn’t want to see happen, and showed a map of a site 120, not 100 fee to the north, “because to leave 20 feet of property in residential (zoned land) doesn’t make sense.”

“What we have proposed,” MacLeod said, “is the only viable, reasonable alternative. It’s our position that it’s within the hearings body’s discretion to impose conditions that are reasonable,” and moving the facility is “not reasonable,” the lawyer said.

Seven homes to the south and southwest of the proposed site “have an almost unobstructed view” of the proposed substation, said John Deeming, a member of the Newport Hills Homeowners Association’s board of directors. Deeming said the association only learned of the planned substation this spring, during a presentation by NorthWest Crossing developers, and got the impression “this was pretty much an accomplished fact, with stakes in the ground” for the location and the church agreement on access.

Pacific Power has been “generous,” Deeming said, to take part in two meetings and numerous phone calls over the proposal. But that hasn’t alleviated a list of concerns, from safety, fire, noise and visual impacts to lighting, health concerns from electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) radiation and an expected loss of property values.

“There has been progress” in the talks with the utility, the board member said, but he called the plan to ease the impact on neighbors has been “lacking,” and called for a requirement to move the substation 200 feet to the north.

Neighbor says substation will `be in my face’

Homeowner Toni Lopez – who tried to sell her home, but got few showings due to the impending neighbor – said she’s the closest home to the proposed site. “It’s so close, you can throw a Frisbee … right on the middle of the property.”

“We chose this location for the space it allowed, even with NorthWest Crossing going in,” she said. “The visual impact of something so massive will be dramatic, every single day,” from throughout the family’s two-story home. “It’s going to be in my face a lot,” said Lopez, who works from home. “We can only imagine how this project will impact our family, and it makes us sick.”

“We have estimated the loss of value at $40,000 to $50,000 on our home,” Lopez said. “To take a hit like this, we’d be devastated. If we could sell it – but who wants to live next to a substation?” She also called the EMF issues “unnerving,” despite conflicting studies on the issue. “We’re worried about exposure.”

“I do understand, there’s a need for electricity on the Westside,” the homeowner said. “But its placement shouldn’t have such a devastating effect on our neighborhood.”

Fellow Newport Hills Drive resident Wilfred Nagel said he shares concerns about the substation that would be about 350 feet from his home, including “the salability of our house. It cannot be considered a positive sale point.” Then there’s the expected “60-cycle hum from the transformers,” which Nagel called “very disturbing, especially when trying to get some sleep.”

Jill Rentas said, “I agree, we definitely need a substation on the Westside, considering all the growth.” But she also is worried about EMF radiation when they entertain on their rear deck, as well as noise and lighting impact. She called the sound wall “a 10-foot-tall Band-Aid” that won’t have a major impact.

Like many others, Rentas pointed out that other substations around the city are not in residential areas, and she said she would “prefer another location, more remote but accessible.”

EMF issue: `Perception is reality’

Paul Stednitz, whose home is about 450 feet from the substation site, said “the city has got the right idea” in proposing a 100-foot move to the north, but said another 100 feet would be better. He and others said the utility had provided its plans for landscaping on just the west side of the parcel, away from existing homes, but the utility later vowed to provide its complete landscaping plan before the hearings record closes.

“We think that the solution, for all concerned, is to move the substation 200 feet to the north,” he said, not urging a 300-foot move because of the impact on residents along Shevlin Park Road. Stednitz also said the new site would allow retention of more existing trees than the proposed one.

Stednitz and other neighbors also questioned the need for a 200-foot-square site that is larger than other substations around Bend. He also pointed out that three homes among those closest to the Pacific Power site are for sale, and are not selling, because owners must disclose the plans for the adjacent parcel.

While studies are split on the issue of EMF and health dangers, Stednitz said, “The problem is, perception is reality.” He also urged a fire protection plan, since substation equipment could explode, as one did in Australia.

“We could be asking that the substation be moved from our backyards, but we’re trying to be reasonable and flexible,” Stednitz said.

Pat Phelps said the large substation “in the middle of my sunset, somehow doesn’t seem right. The site is definitely going to be something of an eyesore.” And he took issue with a utility rep’s claim that “all” of the growth with occurring on the Westside, saying there’s “lots of development on the Eastside,” too.

Realtor Debbie Tebbs underscored the neighbors’ concerns about impact on their property values and ability to sell their homes. “For prospective buyers, the fear of the unknown just drives them away,” she said, noting a similar situation on Awbrey Butte, amid the debate over new and expanded broadcast towers there.

Moving the substation 200 feet to the north “should definitely have a positive impact on property values,” compared to the proposed site, Tebbs said. “In fact, property values may even hold,” if that were to be done. “It would still have to be disclosed, but it would not be as significant a visual impact.” Elliott asked about if the substation was moved only 100 feet, but the Realtor said, “It’s viewable” still at that distance.

Lawyer sees need to minimize impact

Bruce White, representing the homeowners group, said that amid condemnation proceedings, “there’s a certain element of coercion here, and because of the power of condemnation, Pacific Power has quite a strong stick to yield” – although it is not the property owner, at this point in time.

White said the substation at Northeast 27th Street and Neff Road is roughly half the proposed Westside substation size (though MacLeod later noted that the northeast facility is Central Electric Cooperative’s and not Pacific Power’s).

“They really haven’t done all they can do to minimize the impact,” the homeowners’ lawyer said.

“I don’t think we’re being unreasonable here,” White said. “We could say, `Locate it on Shevlin Park Road, down below the slope, so we don’t have to see it at all.'” On the other hand, he said, West Bend Property Co. (the developer of NorthWest Crossing) “is going to be compensated,” unlike the existing neighbors. If there’s an added cost in shifting the substation or paying for the land, the lawyer said, “I’m sure it will be passed on to the ratepayers.”

The neighbors’ lawyer also said Pacific Power is not a public agency but an investor-owned utility, and thus might not be exempt from the city requirement to partition the parcel it wants to use, as it claims.

Doug Jones, president of the River West Neighborhood Association, took a firmer tack than the Newport Hills neighbors, saying the board has taken a stand that “opposes the siting of a substation in this general area,” and recommends it be moved “completely out of the (residential) area.” Moving the substation 100 or 200 feet north might ease the impact on Newport Hills but “start to affect the neighborhoods and property values” to the north, he said.

“On the bigger picture, we have to look at, is this an appropriate site? Or is it the wrong spot?” Jones said.

In the applicants’ rebuttal, MacLeod promised that a full landscaping plan will be submitted before the hearings record closes. “PacifiCorp’s commitment is to great a landscape buffer on all sides,” even if it means doing so on church-owned property to the east, she said.

Utility defends substation size

Katherine Hill of PacifiCorp’s real estate group said the utility could even work out a deal to put landscaping on a neighbors’ property. “We’re not going to be maintain it, but we’re open to the suggestion,” she said.

A lighting plan also was submitted at the hearing, and utility officials said they will be shielded and point downward. They also won’t be on all the time, they said, but acknowledged they must be on when the “homeland security” terrorist-threat level is at “orange” (elevated) – as it is now.

Answering questions from the hearings officer, MacLeod and utility officials noted that a road inside the sound wall’s perimeter is designed so that a semi truck could haul in and set up a mobile transformer, should permanent equipment fail. They also acknowledged that there’s room for some expansion within the existing substation “footprint,” as Westside growth adds to the need for more electricity.

“We don’t want to go through this again and have to build another Westside substation,” said Cord Schreiner, project manager.

“This is a quarter of a million dollar wall – just for the wall,” Macleod explained of the acoustical wall around the substation. “The expectation is, it won’t cause noise (for nearby homeowners) – that’s why we designed it this way.” The utility also argued that the new equipment won’t increase EMF emissions.

As for the condemnation proceedings, MacLeod said, “We don’t believe it’s a relevant issue” in the land-use proceedings, as Elliott decides whether to approve a site plan and conditional use permit. “The only issue is the fair market value of the property.”

The loudest laugh of the night from the crowd came when MacLeod submitted a Nov. 7, 2002 report by a Redmond appraiser, stating his opinion that when it comes to property values, “the impact, if any, would be minimal.”

Asked by Elliott whether the utility is opposed to any requirement to move the substation, MacLeod replied, “I think it falls outside the parameters of a reasonable condition.”

“It’s a do or die for the applicant?” the hearings officer said.

“At this point,” she replied. “And if we change our position, I’ll notify you.”

Katherine Hill, the PacifiCorp real estate official, said of the proposed move north, “I think there’s a compelling case to say there’s a much greater impact to the commercial site and the church,” if that is done. My belief, and our feeling at PacifiCorp is that we have met the minimum standards.”

But when the utility talked about the impact on the retail mixed-use area and the church, Elliott said, “That’s not the impact the city’s code is dealing with” – instead, it focuses on the impact on residential areas.

The hearings officer’s decision is likely in October, after the written record closes. It will be the city’s final decision, unless one side and/or the other appeals his ruling to the city council – a step that seems quite likely, considering the differences between the utility and its would-be neighbors.

Santiam Pass open again; fires near 50,000 acres

It took until midway through the Labor Day holiday weekend, but U.S. Highway 20’s 12-day closure over Santiam Pass finally ended Sunday morning – even as smoke lingered on the roadway and crews kept battling the B and B Complex of two wildfires, now approaching 50,000 acres.

“We just came through a thick section of smoke,” said Kris Lerten of Hermiston, one of the first travelers to cross the pass from the west after the roadblocks were removed at 9 a.m.

Speaking by cell phone, he said the south side of the highway was burned for a long stretch, but there were still trees and a somewhat normal appearance on the northern side of the road.

Later, after passing the summit and the 15-mile reduced-speed area, Lerten said, “There was a spot that was pretty smoky and we saw a few flames, but it wasn’t bad.”

“Firefighters are all over – there are tons of them,” he said. “There were a few spots where it a got a little dark, and it made you cough. It was kind of cool.”

The Oregon Department of Transportation laid down several conditions for reopening the pass and ending a record-length closure that hit the small tourist town of Sisters very hard. Some businesses report a 70 or 80 percent loss of sales since the Booth and Bear Butte blazes erupted Aug. 19, shutting the highway. (The next day, the fire jumped the road and burned on both sides for several days.)

“There are no guarantees that the highway will remain open,” said ODOT Region 4 Manager Bob Bryant in Bend. “We have an active fire that could require intermittent closures, and motorists can expect some delays.”

Among other conditions imposed on Santiam Pass travelers: No stopping or parking along the corridor, except for emergencies. Travelers also were advised to use caution when approaching fire and emergency vehicles working on the firefighting effort. They also were told to “watch for hazards such as rocks and trees, and especially be aware of reduced visibility, due to smoke.” Also, there remains no access to recreational areas of the national forest within the burn area.

“ODOT and (Oregon State Police) will perform 24-hour safety patrols on Highway 20 to monitor visibility conditions and hazards, to enforce parking restrictions and strictly enforce the 45 mph speed limit,” the announcement stated.

Less than three hours after the pass reopened, businesses in hard-hit Sisters already were seeing a difference. “There is more people in here today,” said Marilyn Harrison, assistant manager of The Gallimaufry, a food, liquor and gift shop on Cascade Avenue.

Still no cause known, or full containment date seen

Almost 2,300 firefighters and support crews are working on the two fires, which now have blackened 49,130 acres, officials on the fire (http://www.bandbcomplex.com) said late Sunday. The fire remains 40 percent contained, with no estimate of full containment. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, as the cost of battling the nearly 2-week-old fires has topped $11.2 million.

The 38,558-acre Booth Fire is burning on the Deschutes and Willamette national forests, as well as on private and state lands, in mixed conifer, lodgepole pine and bug-killed timber. The 10,572-acre Bear Butte Fire, about three miles to the north, is burning on the Deschutes National Forest and Warm Springs Indian Reservation, in heavy fuels consisting of dead snags and some brush in the lava fields.

The fire stayed active Sunday, with five distinct columns seen in the afternoon. The winds from the east gradually shifted to a more westerly flow, with upslope winds. Officials said the Booth Fire made significant runs in the Eight Lakes Basin in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area, north of Three-Fingered Jack. Most the recently consumed acreage is in the wilderness area, officials said.

A large spot fire was reported Sunday evening in the northwest corner of the Bear Butte Fire, but heavy smoke kept air resources from helping fight the flames, said Jay Esperance, operations sections chief.

Fire information officer Sarah Bickford said winds from the east Saturday pushed the Booth blaze over the top of the Cascades crest at Minto Pass, north of Three-Fingered Jack and south of Mount Jefferson.

As school days arrive, the fire camp based at Sisters High School was slated to begin moving Monday to the Sisters Rodeo grounds.

Firefighters made good progress Saturday on the northeast flank of the Bear Butte Fire and worked to contain the southeast flank. There also was active fire behavior in the fire’s northwest corner, as crews worked Sunday to establish more fire line in the area.

Dry, warmer weather due for the next several days won’t make the fight any easier, nor will variable winds that complicate firefighting efforts. A dozen helicopters, 66 20-person crews and almost 80 fire engines are on the blaze, which continues to close a large area of public land, forest roads and trails as summer ends (and bow hunting season begins).

Officials study wider area reopening

Now that about 200 Camp Sherman-area residents were able to return home under strict conditions Saturday, Jefferson County Sheriff Jack Jones and Search and Rescue Sgt. Mark Foster told about 60 evacuees at Sunday’s briefing in Sisters about the next phase of limited entry into the Metolius Basin, possibly as soon as Tuesday, and another, broader return that would follow later.

Phase 2 would involve residents in vacation homes south of Forest Road 1216, as well as resort owners, employees, building contractors and residents who live in their RVs as a primary residence. That would mean almost 750 people would be back home, although with very smoky conditions likely, those with respiratory problems were advised not to return yet.

No date has been set for a subsequent reopening phase, including resorts and campgrounds outside the fire’s perimeter, on the eastern side of both blazes. Like the initial Camp Sherman situation, authorities said no spot fires can jump the lines for a 48-hour period before that phase would be considered.

Also, reentry into the Suttle Lake area is still be determined, with only business owners and workers allowed back in so far. Another assessment for others is tentatively planned Tuesday.

B and B Complex fire update: 9 a.m. Sunday

9:00 a.m.
For Fire Information (Sisters Camp): 541-549-8280
web address: www.bandbcomplex.com
Engines: 79 Crews: 66 Helicopters: 12 Total Personnel: 2,291
Size: 49,616 Cause: Unknown Containment: 40% Cost: $10,030,000
Current Situation
· Last night’s fire activities included a small burnout west of Road 12, mop-up activities, and heavy patrolling.
· Some very active fire behavior was observed Saturday evening on the northwest side of the Booth Fire in the Mt.
Jefferson Wilderness. Fire behavior included torching, spotting, and crowning runs, the result of dry fuels and dry
weather conditions.
Residents and Meetings
Camp Sherman residents that own private land south of Road 1217 returned to their homes under restricted entry yesterday
afternoon. The next community meeting is today at 12:30 p.m. at the Red Cross Evacuation Center located at Sisters
Christian Church, 302 Main Street. Monday’s meeting will be at 10:00 in the same location.
Operations
Highway 20 re-opened at 9:00 am today. However delays or re-closure due to fire conditions are possible. There are several
restrictions in place to ensure safe travel within the fire corridor. Restrictions include: speed will be reduced to 45 mph, no
stopping or parking except for emergencies, and no access is permitted to recreational areas or the national forest within the
burn area. Motorists should watch for fire suppression vehicles and other hazards such as trees, rocks, and smoke.
Fire Details
Booth Fire – 39,016 Acres
· The Booth fire is burning on the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests and on private and state lands in mixed
conifer, lodgepole pine, and bug-killed timber.
· Active fire behavior was observed in the Canyon Creek area. An easterly wind flow has pushed the Booth fire over
the top of the Cascade crest at Minto Pass, north of Three Fingered Jack and south of Mt. Jefferson.
· Crews are continuing to establish a contingency line north along the 1230 road. Fire crews conducted burn-out
operations last night in the fire’s southeast corner to reinforce Road 12 as a containment line. Mop-up operations
continue in several divisions and good progress was made along the southern and eastern fire perimeter.
Bear Butte Fire – 10,600 Acres
· The Bear Butte fire is burning on the Deschutes National Forest and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The fire
is burning in heavy fuels consisting of dead snags and some brush in the lava fields.
· Firefighters made good progress along the northeast flank of the fire and are actively working to contain the
southeast flank. Active fire behavior was observed in northwest corner of the fire. Fire crews continue to establish
fire line in that corner today.
Weather
Today’s weather calls for high pressure strengthening over the coast with light easterly flow for continued warming and
drying. Temperatures will be warmer today at 86 degrees. Humidity levels are predicted to be 18-25%. Winds will be
variable at 4-8 mph coming from the east in the morning and changing to northwest in the afternoon. The extended outlook is
for mostly sunny weather, warm and dry through Tuesday. Variable winds will continue to complicate firefighting efforts.
Cooperating Agencies
U.S. Forest Service, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Oregon Dept. of Forestry, Oregon
Dept. of Transportation, and various state, county, city fire agencies and private entities.
CLOSURE INFORMATION
Deschutes National Forest Closures
1. South of Jefferson Creek, from Jefferson County line east to the Metolius River.
2. North of the gate on the Forest Road 1499.
3. West of the junction of Forest Road 1490 and Forest Road 1140.
4. West of the crest of Green Ridge, between the junction of Forest Road 1490 and 1140, south to the junction of Forest
Road 1120 and Forest Road 11.
5. West of Forest Road 11, from the junction of Forest Road 1120 to the junction of Forest Road 1102.
6. North of State Highway 20, from the junction of Forest Road 11 west to the junction of Forest Road 2061.
7. West of Forest Road 2060, from the junction of Highway 20 to the junction of Forest Road 2061.
8. West of Forest Road 2061, from the junction of Forest Road 2060 to the junction of Forest Road 1028.
9. North of Forest Road 1028, from the junction of Forest Road 2061 to the junction of Forest Road 1028-500 (500
road is closed also).
10. North of Forest Road 1028-500, from the junction of Forest Road 1028 west to the Deschutes National Forest
boundary at the Cascade Crest.
11. Residents of homes on private property are permitted into the closure area on specified roads under the direction and
control of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
Willamette National Forest Closures
1. Road #20-830 and attached spurs (Potato Hill area)
2. Road #20-835 and attached spurs (Lost Lake area)
3. Road #2676-723, 724, 725 spurs (Little Nash Crater area)
4. Road #2676-866 and attached spurs (Old Wagon Road)
5. Road #2690 and attached spurs (Big Lake area)
6. All roads and ATV trails in the Big Lake ATV area.
7. Trail #3395 (Patjens area)
8. Trail #3522

Santiam Pass reopening; evacuation order eased

The Oregon Department of Transportation announced late Saturday night that Highway 20 would reopen over Santiam Pass Sunday at 9 a.m., nearly two weeks after the now nearly 46,000-acre B and B Complex of two wildfires erupted nearby, shutting the east-west link and decimating business in Sisters, to the east.

But officials warned of numerous conditions tacked onto the highway’s reopening, including an enforced 45 mph speed limit within the fire area, possibly slower, should smoke cut visibility.

The pair of blazes, consisting of the Booth Fire and Bear Butte Fire, grew to 45,673 acres Saturday, officials said, and while there was good progress on most areas, east winds kept the fire moving to the west, prompting a length decision-making process on the highway’s safety upon reopening.

“We will attempt to reopen the highway Sunday morning, but there are no guarantees that the highway will remain open,” said ODOT Region 4 Manager Bob Bryant in Bend. “We have an active fire that could require intermittent closures, and motorists can expect some delays.”

Among other conditions imposed on Santiam Pass travelers: No stopping or parking along the corridor, except for emergencies. Travelers also were advised to use caution when approaching fire and emergency vehicles working on the firefighting effort. They also were told to “watch for hazards such as rocks and trees, and especially be aware of reduced visibility, due to smoke.” Also, there remains no access to recreational areas of the national forest within the burn area.

“ODOT and (Oregon State Police) will perform 24-hour safety patrols on Highway 20 to monitor visibility conditions and hazards, to enforce parking restrictions and strictly enforce the 45 mph speed limit,” the announcement stated.

Fire information officer Sarah Bickford said that on Saturday, “an easterly flow pushed the Booth Fire over the top of the Cascades crest at Minot Pass, north of Three-Fingered Jack and south of Mount Jefferson.”

The blazes have been creeping toward each other since they broke out Aug. 19 and are less than three miles apart. Officials said the 2,291 firefighters and support personnel have pushed to 40 percent containment of the wildfires, at a cost so far of $10 million, but there’s still no full containment date estimated.

Good progress seen, but active fire behavior lingers

There was good progress made Saturday, however, on the north and east flanks of the Bear Butte Fire, as that blaze kept moving west toward the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, and along the Pacific Crest Trail south of Three-Fingered Jack, on the southwest flank of the Booth Fire. Active fire behavior increased in the northwest corner of the Bear Butte Fire.

There was good mop-up work on the east and south flanks of the Booth Fire, with extra work around Hoodoo ski lodge, east to Potato Hill and Highway 20. Progress also was made toward Craig Lake on the western flank, from Highway 20 north, as crews built line and used natural fire breaks (such as rock and open areas) whenever possible, said Jay Esperance, operations section chief.

Still, extreme fire behavior was seen on the northwest flank of the Booth Fire, as it made a significant run west in the wilderness area. Also, more hazard trees were taken down in the Highway 20 corridor and Pacific Crest Trailhead, to aid in reopening the highway.

The Sisters High School command post is moving in coming days to the Sisters Rodeo grounds, to make way for returning students.

While fire and ODOT had completed falling about 700 hazardous trees and snags along the highway, and checking newly barren hillsides for potential rockfall dangers, active fire north of the highway, near the west flank of the Booth Fire, had kept the road closed.

Esperance said earlier Saturday that ODOT crews were “busy all night, working on the first stages of preparation for the reopening of Highway 20.” In a public notice, he said, “We are aware everyone is anxious to get Highway 20 open as soon as possible. Please be aware your safety is our No. 1 concern, and we can only open Highway 20 after it is assured no threat to public safety still exists.”

Jefferson County Sheriff Jack Jones announced at Saturday’s daily briefing for evacuees and other area residents at the Sisters Christian Church Red Cross shelter that the evacuation order imposed on the 400 Camp Sherman-area residences nine days earlier would be eased, starting at 2 p.m. – but only for the permanent residents on private land south of Forest Road 1217.

Officials had said a line along Forest Road 12, east of the community, would have to hold for 48 hours before anyone was allowed to go home. There was a spot fire east of the road Friday, but north of the junction with Forest Road 1217, the trigger point for the decision on easing the evacuation order.

“They were very happy,” Bickford said of the residents, despite the limited area and restrictions imposed on their return.

‘Restricted entry form’ has warning

A curfew will remain in effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily, and residents can use only roads 14 and 1419 and the feeder roads to their homes, officials said. All other Forest Service roads within the Metolius Basin remained closed by special order.

The property owner or renter who wishes to return also must sign a “restricted entry form,” listing which vehicles will be used, restricted areas and a “risk awareness agreement,” which states “there may be hazards associated with a return to my residents,” and “neither the incident commander for the fire nor the Jefferson County sheriff recommends that people return to their homes.”

The evacuation order for special-use permit-holders who own cabins on Forest Service land remained in place, officials said, but also might be eased, as fire conditions allow.

Esperance said the southwest corner of the Booth Fire was tested Friday night by steady, warm and dry east winds. “The line held with no spotting, a tribute to the hard work from the firefighters in the area north of Highway 20. Several spot fires were lined and mopped on the lower west line.”

Mop-up continued along the western flank of the Bear Butte Fire, and line burnout on the north flank of the Booth Fire through the night, as well as mop-up and patrol on the east and south flanks.

ODOT: Hwy. 20/Santiam Pass open again

U.S. 20 open

The Santiam Highway (U.S. 20) is open to traffic between the Santiam Junction and Sisters under the following conditions:

…Traffic may be subject to delays and the highway may be closed if fire conditions change.

…Speed on U.S. 20 within the fire perimeter is 45 mph. Oregon State Police troopers will patrol the highway to enforce the speed limit.

…Speed may be reduced below 45 miles per hour in certain sections of the highway if smoke reduces visibility.

…Vehicles will not be allowed to stop or park along corridor except in an emergency.

…Motorists should use caution when approaching fire and emergency vehicles that are still actively engaged in fire suppression efforts in the area.

…Motorists should watch for hazards such as rocks and trees and especially be aware of reduced visibility due to smoke.

…ODOT and OSP will perform 24-hour safety patrols on U.S. 20 to monitor visibility conditions and hazards, to enforce parking restrictions and strictly enforce the 45 mph speed limit.

…There is no access to recreational areas or the national forest within the burn area.

The highway had been closed since Aug. 19 by the B&B Complex Fire.


This is a conditional reopening of the highway. Traffic will be subject to delays and the highway may be closed if fire conditions change. Region 4 Manager Bob Bryant said, “There are no guarantees that the highway will remain open. We still have an active fire that could require intermittent closures and motorists can expect some delays.”

B and B Complex fire update: 9 a.m. Saturday

9:00 a.m.

For Fire Information (Sisters Camp): 541-549-8280
web address: www.bandbcomplex.com

Engines: 82 Crews: 67 Helicopters: 13 Total Personnel: 2,298
Size: 42,572 Cause: Unknown Containment: 40% Cost: $8,774,000

Current Situation
Western portions of the Bear Butte and Booth Fires burned actively Friday afternoon and throughout the evening. Firefighters managed to hold the established lines on both fires, except for one small spot on the Booth Fire. Prevailing winds are slowly pushing both fires primarily to the west towards the wilderness as firefighters construct fire line in advance of the fire. Southern movement by the Bear Butte fire has closed the gap between the fires to three miles. Easterly winds could result in fire spread to the west today.

Although a section of Hwy 20 remains closed (between Black Butte Ranch and Highway 22) alternative routes to Sisters are available and all businesses in the community are open. Currently, the road is closed due to active fire on the north side of the highway near the west flank of the Booth Fire.

The Camp Sherman community remains evacuated, however a restricted entry will take effect today at 2:00 p.m. for permanent residents owning private land south of Road 1217. There are no new fire threats to the Camp Sherman or Black Butte communities, as the fire perimeter remains 3-4 miles away. More details will be available at the 10:00 a.m. daily community meeting for Camp Sherman residents at Sisters Christian Church located at 302 Main St.

Fire Details
The Booth fire, 34,638 acres, is burning on the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests in mixed conifer, lodgepole pine, and bug-killed timber. Yesterday, fire crews continued to mop up spot fires east of the FS Roads 12 and 1230. A small spot fire was contained north of the 1217 road. Firefighters continued to mop-up along the southern flank throughout the night. Fire crews made good progress constructing line along the fire’s north flank. Crews are continuing to establish a contingency line north along the 1230 road, which would link to fire line on the Bear Butte fire. On the western flank of the fire, crews are building fire line north from Lost Lake to Craig Lake.

The Bear Butte fire is burning on the Deschutes National Forest and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The 7,934 acre fire burned actively on the southern flank yesterday. The fire is burning in heavy fuels consisting of dead snags and some brush in the lava fields. Today, crews will continue construction of hand and dozer lines along the flanks of the fire. Line construction and mop-up operations are slow where burned-out snags have created hazards for crews. Crews are working to contain spot fires on several flanks of the fire.

Weather
Today’s weather calls for high pressure strengthening over the coast with light easterly flow for continued warming and drying. Temperatures will be warmer today at 85 degrees in the valleys and 80 degrees on ridgetops. Humidity levels are predicted to be 20 – 30% on ridgetops and 14 – 20% in the valleys. Winds will be variable at 1-4 mph coming from the east in the morning and from the northeast 3-6 mph in the afternoon in the valleys. On ridgetops, east winds will be 6-12 mph with gusts around 15 mph. The extended outlook is for mostly sunny weather, warm and dry through Labor Day. Shifting winds will continue to complicate firefighting efforts early this week.

Cooperating Agencies
U.S. Forest Service, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Oregon Dept. of Forestry, Oregon Dept. of Transportation, and various state, county, city fire agencies and private entities.

Evacuation Details
• The community of Camp Sherman was evacuated Thursday August 21. Based on the movement of the fire, the Jefferson County Sheriff ordered a precautionary evacuation of the Camp Sherman community. A restricted entry for permanent residents on private land south of road 1217 will take effect today at 2:00 p.m.
• The American Red Cross established an evacuation center at the Sisters Christian Church for evacuated residences. For more information call 541-549-2673.
• Concerned citizens wanting to donate items or services may call the American Red Cross in Bend at 541-382-2142.
• The following areas remain evacuated: Camps Tamarack, Caldera, Davidson, and Suttle Lake Methodist Church Camp as well as the following campgrounds: Blue, East, Link Creek, Round, Long, Square, Jack, South Shore, Scout, and Blue Bay. Big Lake Youth Camp, HooDoo Ski Bowl and Lost Lake Campgrounds were also evacuated.

CLOSURE INFORMATION
Deschutes National Forest Closures
1. South of Jefferson Creek, from Jefferson County line east to the Metolius River.
2. North of the gate on the Forest Road 1499.
3. West of the junction of Forest Road 1490 and Forest Road 1140.
4. West of the crest of Green Ridge, between the junction of Forest Road 1490 and 1140, south to the junction of Forest Road 1120 and Forest Road 11.
5. West of Forest Road 11, from the junction of Forest Road 1120 to the junction of Forest Road 1102.
6. North of State Highway 20, from the junction of Forest Road 11 west to the junction of Forest Road 2061.
7. West of Forest Road 2060, from the junction of Highway 20 to the junction of Forest Road 2061.
8. West of Forest Road 2061, from the junction of Forest Road 2060 to the junction of Forest Road 1028.
9. North of Forest Road 1028, from the junction of Forest Road 2061 to the junction of Forest Road 1028-500 (500 road is closed also).
10. North of Forest Road 1028-500, from the junction of Forest Road 1028 west to the Deschutes National Forest boundary at the Cascade Crest.
11. Residents of homes on private property are permitted into the closure area on specified roads under the direction and control of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

Willamette National Forest Closures
1. Road #20-830 and attached spurs (Potato Hill area)
2. Road #20-835 and attached spurs (Lost Lake area)
3. Road #2676-73, 724, 725 spurs (Little Nash Crater area)
4. Road #26-76-866 and attached spurs (Old Wagon Road)
5. Road #2690 and attached spurs (Big Lake area)
6. All roads and ATV trails in the Big Lake ATV area.
7. Trail #3395 (Patjens area)
8. Trail #3522

Wilderness and Pacific Crest Trail Closures
All National Forest land within the boundaries of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, the Mt. Washington Wilderness and on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) #2000 from Santiam Pass, north of U.S. Highway 20 to the Willamette National Forest boundary on Park Ridge are closed to public use. The PCT is closed from Hwy 242 at McKenzie Pass north to Olallie Lake.

Some evacuees go home; fires top 45,000 acres

There was a mix of good and not-so-good news from the B and B Complex fire lines Saturday: About a fourth of Camp Sherman residents were allowed to return home, subject to special conditions, but Highway 20 over Santiam Pass apparently won’t reopen quickly, due to still-active fire behavior.

The pair of blazes, consisting of the Booth Fire and Bear Butte Fire, grew to 45,673 acres Saturday, officials said.

“An easterly flow pushed the Booth Fire over the top of the Cascades crest at Minot Pass, north of Three-Fingered Jack and south of Mount Jefferson,” said fire information officer Sarah Bickford.

There was good progress made Saturday, however, on the north flank of the Bear Butte Fire and along the Pacific Crest Trail south of Three-Fingered Jack, on the southwest flank of the Booth Fire. Active fire behavior increased in the northwest corner of the Bear Butte Fire.

The blazes have been creeping toward each other since they broke out Aug. 19 and are less than three miles apart. Officials said the 2,291 firefighters and support personnel have pushed to 40 percent containment of the wildfires, at a cost so far of $10 million, but there’s still no full containment date estimated.

“If things keep going well, Highway 20 may be open as soon as late today (Saturday) or early tomorrow (Sunday) – it’s a minute-by-minute thing,’ said fire information officer Sarah Bickford at the Sisters High School command post (moving in coming days to the Sisters Rodeo grounds, to make way for returning students).

While fire and Oregon Department of Transportation crews had completed falling about 700 hazardous trees and snags along the highway, and checking newly barren hillsides for potential rockfall dangers, active fire north of the highway, near the west flank of the Booth Fire, has kept the road closed.

“If the fire activity stabilizes around Lost Lake,” that should allow for the road to reopen, Bickford said. “It’s been making a lot of runs on the line, testing the line” in that area, on the east edge of Lost Lake.

Jay Esperance, operations sections chief, said Saturday that ODOT crews were “busy all night, working on the first stages of preparation for the reopening of Highway 20.” In a public notice, he said, “We are aware everyone is anxious to get Highway 20 open as soon as possible. Please be aware your safety is our No. 1 concern, and we can only open Highway 20 after it is assured no threat to public safety still exists.”

Jefferson County Sheriff Jack Jones announced at Saturday’s daily briefing for evacuees and other area residents at the Sisters Christian Church Red Cross shelter that the evacuation order imposed on the 400 Camp Sherman-area residences nine days earlier would be eased, starting at 2 p.m. – but only for the permanent residents on private land south of Forest Road 1217.

Officials had said a line along Forest Road 12, east of the community, would have to hold for 48 hours before anyone was allowed to go home. There was a spot fire east of the road Friday, but north of the junction with Forest Road 1217, the trigger point for the decision on easing the evacuation order.

“They were very happy,” Bickford said of the residents, despite the limited area and restrictions imposed on their return.

‘Restricted entry form’ has warning

A curfew will remain in effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily, and residents can use only roads 14 and 1419 and the feeder roads to their homes, officials said. All other Forest Service roads within the Metolius Basin remained closed by special order.

The property owner or renter who wishes to return also must sign a “restricted entry form,” listing which vehicles will be used, restricted areas and a “risk awareness agreement,” which states “there may be hazards associated with a return to my residents,” and “neither the incident commander for the fire nor the Jefferson County sheriff recommends that people return to their homes.”

The evacuation order for special-use permit-holders who own cabins on Forest Service land remained in place, officials said, but also might be eased, as fire conditions allow.

Esperance said the southwest corner of the Booth Fire was tested Friday night by steady, warm and dry east winds. “The line held with no spotting, a tribute to the hard work from the firefighters in the area north of Highway 20. Several spot fires were lined and mopped on the lower west line.”

Mop-up continued along the western flank of the Bear Butte Fire, and line burnout on the north flank of the Booth Fire through the night, as well as mop-up and patrol on the east and south flanks.

Camp Sherman evacuation order eased

Jefferson County Sheriff Jack Jones will announce this morning that the
evacuation order issued last week will be eased beginning at 2 pm today,
Saturday August 30, 2003 for permanent residents on private land south of
Forest Road 1217. The Camp Sherman area was evacuated on Thursday August 21
in response to extreme fire behavior.

Camp Sherman entry restrictions related to today’s announcement include:

· A curfew from 9 pm to 5 am daily

· Residents may travel only on Roads 14 and 1419 and feeder roads leading to
residences. All other Forest Service roads within the Metolius Basin are
closed by special order.

The evacuation order for special use permittee cabin owners on Forest
Service land remains in place and may also be eased as fire conditions
allow.

Fire crews continue to make significant progress contain the southern and
eastern flanks of the 34,638 acre Booth Fire.