Fire Alert

Destructive Klamath Co. fire 15 pct. contained

Six homes, 14 other buildings destroyed in first hours

SPRAGUE RIVER, Ore. - The destructive Moccasin Hill Fire near Sprague River in Klamath County, which has claimed about 20 homes and other structures, is now 15 percent contained, officials said early Tuesday.

The fire, which destroyed six homes and 14 other buildings on Sunday, did not damage any more structures on Monday.

Fire spokeswoman Erica Hupp says accurate mapping early Monday evening found the Moccasin Hill fire covers about 4 square miles, or over 2,500 acres.

The fire made a 50-60 acre run Monday, Hupp said, but the winds pushed the fire back into itself, so no more structures were lost as the flames were doused by six helicopters and three air tankers.

By late afternoon, most of the smoke had cleared.Monday night, crews focused on completing a secure line around the fire. A heat-seeking infrared flight Monday night produced a more accurate acreage estimate and map.

A mandatory evacuation (Level III) order issued for the Sprague River Drive area was downgraded to Level 1 Monday afternoon. A Red Cross shelter has been set up at the Sprague Community Center, a gathering place for local residents to get the latest fire information updates. Fire Information is updated at least daily on the SCOFMP's hotline at 541-947-6223.

About 100y 100 structures remain threatened.  To date, only one non-firefighter injury has been reported.

Hupp says the attack plan for Tuesday is for about 75 firefighters on scene to keep working on containment lines and do some mopping up in areas that have already burned.

The fire began around 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon on private land in a rural subdivision named Moccasin Hill, four miles north of Sprague River and 45 miles northeast of Klamath Falls.

Hupp told The Associated Press there was no lightning, so an investigation into the cause is underway.

More than 100 people were evacuated just before sundown Sunday.y.

Many residents in the longstanding subdivision about 45 miles northeast of Klamath Falls keep horses and cattle, and neighbors have been stepping in to shelter both stock and pets.

Before nightfall Sunday, Klamath County sheriff's deputies had evacuated more than 100 people from homes along Sprague River Drive and North Arrowhead Line, said Hupp, spokeswoman for the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership.

The fire was burning on private land, in heavy timber and brush, and the cause was under investigation.

Resources on the fire included 10 engines, three crews three bulldozers, a water, a single-engine air tanker (SEAT plane), five helicopters, three heavy air tankers, one very large air tanker (VLAT) and one lead plane, as well as an air attack plane.

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