Bend says city watershed unaffected by Cougar Butte Fire

Blaze within 1 1/2 miles, but moving away

BEND, Ore. - Bend’s drinking water collected from the Bridge Creek watershed area is currently safe and unaffected by the Cougar Butte Fire burning in the Tumalo Creek drainage area about 11 miles west of Bend, city officials said Saturday.

The fire has grown to an estimated 140 acres and is moving west, away from the city watershed and water intake facility.

“At this time, based on the wind and size of the fire, there are no critical threats to the city of Bend watershed or intake facility," city Safety Manager Ken Vaughan said in a news release issued Saturday afternoon.

"The fire is within a mile and a half of the city of Bend intake facility but appears to be moving west and away from the structure,” Vaughan added.

Bend receives half of its annual water supply from the Bridge Creek watershed.   The water source is from Prowell Springs, located deep within the Deschutes National Forest. 

To meet peak summer water consumption, or if the surface water from Bridge Creek cannot be used due to a forest fire in the watershed, the underground Deschutes regional aquifer can serve as a back-up source of drinking water, the city noted. Bend also has 22 wells that can pump supplemental ground water to the city. 

The City reminded area residents and visitors to avoid the Tumalo Falls area to allow emergency personnel full access to the fire.

"The city would also like to extend appreciation to the firefighters working to protect these lands," the announcement said.

For more information about water quality and how the Cougar Butte Fire may affect City of Bend water, contact Ken Vaughan, City of Bend Utility Department Safety Manager at 541-408-4641.

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