Desolation Fire pre-evacuation alert lowered to Level 1

Fire grows to 1,916 acres within lines, wilderness

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - (Update: New fire size, Friday update)

The pre-evacuation notice for about 30 homes in the Marks Creek area northeast of Prineville due to the nearly 2,000-acre Desolation Fire was lowered by Crook County authorities Friday from Level 2, meaning Be Set to leave at a moment's notice, to Level 1, the lowest level.

Here's the announcement from Crook County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Vicky Ryan:

The Crook County Sheriff’s office has continued to coordinate with fire managers on the Desolation Fire as well as the Ochoco National Forest.  Due to current and expected conditions on the Desolation Fire, we are lowering the evacuation levels as follows:

Level 2 (Set) to Level 1 (Ready)

Level 1: Means "BE READY" for potential evacuation. Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movements of persons with special needs, mobile property and (under certain circumstances) pets and livestock. If conditions worsen, emergency services personnel may contact you via an emergency notification system.

Here's Friday morning's update on the fire;

The Desolation Fire experienced moderate growth yesterday evening, all within Mill Creek Wilderness and within planned containment lines, for an updated total acreage of 1,916 acres. The fire is still 0 percent contained.

Crews completed line construction and burnout operations along Highway 26 yesterday, between mileposts 45 and 50 and up to Forest Road 27, protecting private property east of the fire. Crook County lowered the evacuation notice for about 30 private homes in the Mark’s Creek area to a Level 1 (Get Ready) as of this morning. Unless the fire moves toward the east, there are no more burnouts planned along Highway 26.

Firefighters continue prepping the northern containment line along Forest Road 27 with feller bunchers and other heavy equipment to form a “catcher’s mitt” with containment lines along the highway, should the fire grow toward the northeast. Crews also removed fuels around Whistler Campground and Bingham Springs Trailhead and around private property near the highway.

The Desolation Fire is still mainly a ground fire, burning through dead and down timber and shrubs within the 2000 Hash Rock Fire scar. The most active fire growth yesterday was a flank that burned south down Desolation Canyon within Mill Creek Wilderness. Resources will be looking at options today to prep roadways to the south and southwest to use for containment should the fire make any significant progress in that direction. No burnouts are planned, but would occur if needed.

A total of 206 firefighters are currently assigned to the Desolation Fire, and available aviation resources include air attack, air tankers, super scoopers, and a Type 2 helicopter.

Heavy smoke settled over the fire area and Highway 26 overnight, but should clear somewhat today with no burnout operations planned. Motorists are still urged to use caution when travelling over Ochoco Divide to watch out for smoke, emergency traffic, or bystanders who may be watching suppression activities. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity predicted for the weekend should help moderate fire behavior, but late afternoon winds may continue to create periods of fire growth.

A temporary closure order remains in effect for all of Mill Creek Wilderness and Forest Service land north of the wilderness up to and including Forest Roads 27, 2730 and 2745.

For more information, call (541) 316-7711 or follow us online at or on Twitter at @CentralORFire

More information on this fire can also be found on InciWeb at

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