Escaped field burn reminds: Fire danger lingers

Threatened 2 homes north of Prineville

By KTVZ.COM news sources
POSTED: 8:04 PM PDT September 22, 2012    UPDATED: 8:47 PM PDT September 26, 2012 
Escaped ag burn - Suzie Patterson
PRINEVILLE, Ore. -

Wildfire risk remains high to extreme throughout Central Oregon, officials said Wednesday evening after firefighters contained an escaped field burn north of Prineville.

"The weather forecast remains dry and warm through the upcoming weekend," the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center warned.

"The forecast does not yet predict what fire managers consider a 'season-ending event' from the National Weather Service," the statement said. "A season-ending event would include sustained wetting rain, and cooler temperatures.

 Around 3:30 p.m., an agricultural burn escaped off North Main Street just north of Prineville, dispatchers said.

COIDC sent four engines on mutual-aid response wiith Crook County Fire and Rescue, which had five engines on scene.  The fire totaled about 160 acres in size, with 60 of those acres outside of planned boundaries.  No structures were lost, although two were threatened for a time.

On Tuesday,, another fire quickly grew to 660 acres burning in grass and sage about two miles south of Shaniko.  The fire burned from private land onto lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management's Prineville District.

The fire was contained by late Wednesday, though fire personnel reported it will continue to produce smoke for several days due to a hay pile that was involved in the fire.  A fire investigator from Oregon State Police is investigating the cause.

Fire restrictions remain in place for Central Oregon. These include campfire and smoking restrictions.

As hunters and other recreational users enter public and private lands, all are reminded to be aware of local fire regulations.  A Fire Use Information line is available at 1-800-523-4737.  The recording includes information for Oregon Department of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land management lands. 

Meanwhile, the 40-acre Canyon Creek Fire east of Jack Lake was 80 percent contained by Wednesday, officials said, with full containment expected by the weekend.

The minimal fire activity continues on the blaze that broke out late Saturday about five miles northwest of Camp Sherman.

The fire transitioned Wednesday from a Type 3 management team to the local Type 4 team, including two crews and five engines, 

Crews are performing mop up and gridding operations, they said.

Closed roads and trails in the fire area are currently posted.  It is anticipated that by the weekend the forest will re-open access to much of the area, with any exceptions posted.

The fire was reported late Saturday afternoon and grew to about 40 acres by Sunday. It burned in tall brush and dead trees on the upper slopes of Canyon Creek. in an area burned by the 2003 B&B Fire. The cause is under investigation, officials said.

The public was asked to stay out of the area, as roads and trails were closed around the area to protect public safety.

• Road 12 will remain open as well as Road 1210 to Round Lake.

• Jack Creek Campground has been closed.

• Jack Lake and Booth Lake areas are closed.

• Round Lake Trail #4012 and the Minto Lake Trail #4006 are closed.

• The Summit Trail from Square Lake to Wasco Lake are closed.

• The Canyon Creek Trail #4010 to Canyon Creek Meadows is closed.

No structures were threatened, officials said.

The 2003 B&B Complex fires burned for more than a month along the crest of the Cascades, burning more than 90,000 acres between Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington. Two lightning-sparked fires merged to become one in the largest forest fire in recent Central Oregon history.

Some areas had salvage logging in subsequent years, but large stands of blackened trees can still be seen by drivers crossing the Santiam Pass.