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Firefighters cut wide fuel break to protect Elk Lake

300-foot-wide barrier, in case fire advances

Fuel break cleared along Cascade...

BEND, Ore. - A portion of the Cascade Lakes Highway near Elk Lake was reduced to one lane with a pilot car starting on Friday as fire crews use heavy equipment to remove vegetation and trees and create a wide fuel break, in case the Nash Fire or others come too close. 

Tom Mowry, who works for the Alaska's Incident Management Team, told NewsChannel 21 that creating the barrier will help protect the Elk Lake Resort and also help firefighters when battling a wildfire in the area. 

"What they're doing here is creating a fuel break, a 300-foot-wide fuel break," he said. "So the fire is about four miles away from this area right now, but in the event that fire does move closer to that area this fuel break will give firefighters an anchor, so to speak, where they could conduct a burnout operation to remove fuel from the fire and break." 

Fire crews are still working to contain the Nash Fire, which has grown to more than 6,000 acres, which was threatening the Elk Lake Resort area during recent heat and wind. 

Earlier this week, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office reduced evacuation levels from Level 2 to Level 1 as the threat lessened. 

Fire crews said the cooler temperatures Central Oregon is experiencing is helping slow down the spread of this and other fires. 

Mowry said the Nash Fire is showing minimal activity. 

"A lot of times when we're dealing with fires, one of the things that firefighters do is they look for old dozer lines, they use Forest Service roads, they use trails -- any kinds of break in the forest," he said. "They'll widen it out and improve it, and they can use that as an anchor point to do burnout and basically fight the fire."


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