Some Bend residents saw a tall wildfire smoke plume on the horizon Wednesday and wondered if a new fire had erupted near town. But it was actually from intense burn operations along the perimeter of the Lava Fire, pushing its size to more than 21,000 acres northeast of Fort Rock.
Weather conditions cooperated with the planned operations to burn the fire to the interior, officials said Thursday morning.
They said the Lava Fire, 15 miles northeast of Fort Rock and north of Christmas Valley in northern Lake County, now totals 21,300 acres -- more than doubling in size in a day -- but is 50 percent contained within a wilderness study area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Successful operations created a black line around the total perimeter of the fire, officials said.
“Yesterday’s firing actions were fully successful due to well-orchestrated and safe operations,” said Operation Officer Ken Gregor. “Resources were fully engaged in hand and aerial firing operations that resulted in meeting the overall incident objective for perimeter containment.”
Officials said the public should expect to see more smoke columns in the area over the next few days as the interior of the lava flow continues to burn.
The South Central Oregon Management Partnership Type III Team, with Leland Hunter as Incident Commander, is managing the fire.
Firefighters were continuing Thursday to work around the boundary of the fire, to monitor and strengthen black lines.
Officials advised of heavy fire vehicle traffic in the area during the morning and evening hours.
It's the only large wildfire burning in Oregon at present. Track firefighters' progress at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3064/