Northwest Incident Management Team 8, which has led the response to the massive Riverside Fire in Clackamas County and the even-larger Beachie Creek blaze in neighboring Marion, had a simple message for the region as it passed command of the two fires to new leaders Wednesday: “Thank you.”
“Northwest Team 8 would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the communities, cooperators, agency staff and firefighters for the unwavering support during our management of the Riverside and Beachie Creek fires,” Team 8 command said in its final update Wednesday morning.
Riverside, which has burned 138,054 acres, is 72% contained and has 143 personnel assigned to it. Beachie Creek has burned 193,573 acres, is 80% contained and is commanding 157 personnel.
As of Thursday morning, Incident Commander Jeremy Goers will assume management of the Mt. Hood National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands of the Riverside Fire.
Incident Commander Jonah Gladney will assume management of the Willamette National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands of the Beachie Creek Fire. All state and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry will return to the North Cascade District for management.
Firefighters’ work on both the Beachie and Riverside fires continues to be repairing fire lines, patrolling and mop-up when conditions allow. Recent winds and rains can weaken trees, increasing the danger of them falling.
Officials say there is “high interest” from the public to use much of the fire area, but many area closures remain in place for the safety of firefighters and the public. Wet roads create unsafe driving and working conditions for all.
State Highway 22, however, is now open, with reduced speed limits, and all evacuation orders have been lifted for Marion County. Travelers and residents should expect intermittent stops as mitigation work continues.
Light showers and winds are expected to continue in the later part of this week, eventually yielding to higher pressure and more seasonal weather. Temperatures are expected to rise, creating better conditions for firefighters to access the fire area and complete suppression repair work.
The recent wet weather will keep fire behavior to limited creeping and smoldering, officials predict.