Evening Update Issued 9/9/22
Klamath Falls, Ore. – Despite challenging weather conditions on the Van Meter Fire today, there was limited fire growth across the fire. An infrared flight is planned for tonight to gather updated acreage information. In the northern area of the fire along South Poe Valley Road,firefighters focused on patrolling near homes monitoring for smoke and strengthening existing firelines. This area of the fire is in mop-up, with special attention to the need for felling snags and trees which pose an overhead hazard to firefighters.
The southern portion of the fire was the most active area today with trees torching, embers blowing, and rolling burning material pushing fire outside the fireline. Fire crews assisted by aircraft and equipment were able to corral and stop the spread of these small spot fires. Tonight,firefighters will work to complete and secure the fireline on the southern end of the fire.
Two structural task forces worked today to create defensible space around homes by limbing trees, pulling material away from decks, and cleaning flammable material from gutters to help improve the survivability of homes if the fire burns through the area.
For the latest up-to-date evacuation information, please visit the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KlamathSheriff or call 541-205-9730. An evacuation shelter is located at the Klamath County Fair and Event Center in Klamath Falls for anyone displaced by the fire.
For firefighter and public safety there are road closures in place, limiting entrance to firefighter and residential traffic. The Bureau of Land Management has also implemented a closure for lands around the fire.
Safety concerns for the fire include falling snags/trees, burning stump holes, rattlesnakes, and driving hazards. There have been no reportable accidents on the fire.
Critical fire weather tonight includes low relative humidity, the potential for east winds, warm overnight temperatures which will result in increased fire behavior late into the night.
Link Smith, Deputy Incident Commander challenged night resources at briefing to remain engaged as well as praising them for their hard work for the last several nights. “I am cautiously optimistic that the work you do tonight, will allow us to transition work to mop-up in the days to come.”
A Temporary Flight Restriction has been implemented around the fire to limit any aircraft not associated with firefighting activities in the airspace. Wildfires are always a no-fly zone for drones. A drone flying in the area can ground all operational aircraft and impact suppression activities.
If current fire behavior continues this will be the final evening update, with a brief social media update each evening.