Nearly 400 firefighters held the lines Wednesday on the more than 1,300-acre Geneva Fire near Lake Billy Chinook, pushing it to 80 percent containment, with full containment expected Thursday evening, officials said.
Meanwhile, a now-123,551-acre wildfire in northern Nevada has grown northward into southeast Oregon. The Holloway Fire began from Sunday's lightning, 25 miles east of Denio, Nevada. More than 200 firefighters are battling the blaze, which is only 5 percent contained.
Tuesday's afternoon winds tested lines on the north and east flanks of the lightning-sparked Geneva 12 Fire that threatened the Three Rivers subdivision on Monday, officials said. All the containment lines held on the blaze, about 15 miles northeast of Sisters.
Firefighters worked to lay out six miles of hose around the south and east flanks to mop up smokes and hot spots. The northwest corner of the fire continued to burn during the heat of the day, consuming unburned fuels and sending up visible smoke.
A night shift of several engines patrolled and mopped up hot spots on the west and north flanks. An infrared flight over the fire Tuesday night determined the acreage at 1,337 acres.
On Wednesday, firefighters worked to hold and improve existing containment lines, mop up smokes and hotspots, and patrol for potential spot fires across containment lines. Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue continues to provide support to the incident. Motorists are asked to please drive with caution if traveling in the fire area.
Mark Rapp’s Oregon Incident Management Team 3 - Central Oregon assumed command of the fire at noon Tuesday. The incident command post is located at Sisters Middle School. Transfer back to local management is expected Friday morning.
The fire is burning on Crooked River National Grasslands managed by the Ochoco National Forest, private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry, and lands managed by the Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Management. A temporary flight restriction of five miles has been placed over the fire area.
You can track the latest info on the fire at www.inciweb.org/incident/3104
Meanwhile, crews responded to several new starts around the region Tuesday as more hot, dry weather brought likely lightning-sparked "holdover" fires to life.
Most were quickly contained, but crews also tackled one new start, Incident 416, that burned about four acres of grass and juniper near the Powell Butte Highway, three miles south of Pronghorn Resort.
The Geneva Fire fire was spotted at midday Monday, threatening homes in the Three Rivers subdivision. About 100 mostly vacation homes (about 15 people) were evacuated around 4 p.m., but the evacuation order was lifted around 10 p.m. after the fire behavior calmed down, officials said.
No structures were damaged or lost within the Three Rivers subdivision; however, a pickup and a utility trailer were lost within the fire perimeter, near Geneva Road.
Officials said fire crews will focus Tuesday on holding the perimeter through the heat of the day and building and improving containment lines. Primary concerns include hot and dry temperatures and the potential for wind in the afternoon that could cause increased fire behavior and spotting.
The size and containment figures were holding steady Tuesday afternoon, a "fairly quiet" period with "no flareups" despite the returning heat of the day, said Lisa Clark of the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center.
"They are working on hose lay around the perimeter, and the most focus is on mopping up the northern perimeter," along Graham Road, Clark said. But it was still hot, in the 90s, and "they're definitely seeing the winds pick up."
Elsewhere in the region, the total of new fire starts since Sunday's storms has reached about 40, but the biggest other than the Geneva 12 are a couple that reached 4-6 acres before being contained.
No major thunderstorms are in the near-term horizon, as one storm system due at midweek apparently has "lost its oomph" and won't be a major threat, Clark said.
No road closures were in effect Tuesday, although the public was asked to stay out of the area to avoid impacting firefighting traffic. Anyone traveling in the Three Rivers area was urged to slow down and watch for fire-related traffic.
A Type II Incident Management Team (Incident Commander Mark Rapp) was taking over control of the fire battle Tuesday. The Lake Chinook Fire Department will continue to manage structural protection.
More than 125 firefighters were working the fire, with more crews coming on Tuesday, officials said. Total fire personnel was expected to exceed 200 by late in the day.
As of Tuesday morning, there were three bulldozers, four 20-person hand crews, seven wildland engines, 15 structural engines from neighboring departments such as the city of Bend, Redmond Fire, Sisters/Camp Sherman Fire, and La Pine Fire, and one water tender.
Firefighters will continue using a Type I (heavy) helicopter and a Type III (light) helicopter to put water on hot spots. Air tankers remain available to use as needed.
More firefighters around Central Oregon remain available to respond to any new fires. Lightning “holdover” fires can smolder in heavy duff or in the root systems at the bases of trees for several days before the ground and vegetation dries out enough for the fire to begin spreading.
Local fire officials have firefighters placed around the region Oregon to respond to any new starts reported by fire lookouts or reconnaissance aircraft.
The Geneva 12 Fire, reported just after noon Monday, burned in a mix of juniper and sagebrush beside the Three Rivers subdivision.