REDMOND, Ore. - (Update: Sunday fire reports)
A new wildfire on state-protected private land about 20 miles north of Prineville was stopped by air and ground crews at about 50 acres by late Sunday, the Oregon Department of Forestry reported.
Air tankers, single-engine air tankers (SEAT planes) and water-dropping helicopters supported ground crews on the Box Car Fire, officials said.
Crews were expected to work overnight to improve firelines on the blaze, they said.
Crews were still tackling several other recent wildfires around Central Oregon on Sunday, though none had been reported to prompt any evacuations or threaten any structures.
Seven smokejumpers and other resources responding to a one-acre fire on private land just north of the Ochoco National Forest near the North Scotty Creek Trailhead.
A grass fire that broke out Friday northeast of Hampton on BLM land in the Cougar Wells Wilderness Study Area had grown to an estimated 930 acres, with several resources still working to control it, officials said.
Crews also were still working on another range fire on private and Ochoco National Forest land in the Maury Mountains along Newsome Creek, which was estimated at 130 acres.
Incident 1141, four miles west of Cline Buttes on BLM land, was contained Sunday at 1/10th of an acre.
On Saturday, aircraft were dropping water on the new fire in the Mill Creek Wilderness on the Ochoco National Forest near Whistler Point, northeast of last month’s 125-acre Belknap fire, officials said.
The 6,359-acre Nash Fire has not moved any closer than about four miles from Elk Lake, much as it was a week ago, and better weather conditions have helped firefighter, but structure protection work in case it moves closer has led to wrapping the historic guard station there in foil.
Crews and heavy equipment are still working to remove dense fuels along the Cascade Lakes Highway to create a fuel break, in case the fire moves over the Cascade crest. Fire managers have said priorities for the fire include protecting the structures in and around Elk and Lava lakes, as well as infrastructure at Mt. Bachelor Resort and the city of Bend's watershed.
Elk and Hosmer lakes are still at a Level 2 (Be Set) evacuation alert and Lava Lake and Little Lake at Level 1 (Be Ready) pre-evacuation alert.
The fire got a small amount of rain Thursday, which combined with cloud cover and higher humidity has slowed its progress.
Firefighters have responded to numerous smoke reports since Thursday afternoon’s thunderstorms moved through Central Oregon, along with several hundred lightning strikes. Most new fires were caught small, but one grass fire about 60 miles southeast of Bend in eastern Deschutes County had grown to 900 acres by Saturday morning, officials said.
Crews also responded to several other small starts Friday across Central Oregon, all estimated at one acre in size or smaller.
Incident 1131 was estimated at 1 acre, burning on the Sisters Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest about 7 miles northeast of Black Butte, near the forest’s eastern boundary. Engines were responding.
Incident 1101 was estimated at 1 acre, burning about 3 miles west of Odell Lake in Diamond Peak Wilderness. Six smokejumpers were on scene.
Elsewhere, minimal smoke rose Saturday from the Milli Fire, which remains 60 percent contained at just over 24,000 acres. Sisters still had unhealthy smoke levels, according to the DEQ, but Redmond and Bend saw improvement, with smoke in the moderate category.
Here's the Saturday update on the Milli Fire:
There was no new growth on the Milli Fire yesterday. Total acreage for the fire today sits at 24,025 acres with 60 percent containment.
Resources on scene include 59 personnel from the US Forest Service, the BLM, the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Department of Transportation. Firefighters today will continue repairing and rehabilitating fire line along the northwestern edge of the fire area. Crews also continue monitoring the perimeter as it pushes into the lava flows along Highway 242 ensuring that all hot spots are monitored until cold. The majority of heat from this fire remains in the southwestern edge of the fire perimeter as it moves slowly south in the Pole Creek burn and west into rock.
The area closure in place for the Milli Fire has been reduced. While the western, southern and eastern boundaries of the closure remain the same, the northern border has decreased to open access around Black Butte Ranch and Cold Springs Campground. More information on this closure can be found at the Forest Closures link below.
Acreage on this fire will likely grow moderately in the coming week. The west side of the fire continues to burn down slope with occasional torching in pockets of timber in the Three Sisters Wilderness and will continue to extinguish naturally when it runs out of fuel in the lava fields. Fire will also continue a slow move to the southwest in the Pole Creek burn area where overhead hazards remain a concern for firefighter safety. When necessary, firefighter will utilize indirect firefighting tactics like helicopter bucket drops to cool hot spots.
Total suppression cost to date for this fire is estimated at $15 million.
Road Closures - OR 242 is closed east of Cascade Crest to the junction of FR 15. For further information see www.tripcheck.com
Forest Closures- For further information go to: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/deschutes/alerts-notices
Smoke monitoring- Information is available at: oregonsmoke.blogspot.com
And here's Saturday's Eagle Creek Fire update, from the Columbia River Gorge:
Winds shifted Friday, blowing predominantly upriver out of the west and increasing fire activity to the east. Two new Level 1 (Ready) Evacuation Notices were issued by the Hood River Sheriff's Department for portions of Hood River County on Friday afternoon.
Firefighters performed a strategic burnout near Cascade Locks to protected endangered residential and commercial structures. They continued to work along Interstate 84 and Hwy 30 using heavy equipment to strengthen firelines and protect structures, avoiding sensitive areas like fish hatcheries. Helicopters were dipping water out of the Columbia River to assist firefighters working south of the Interstate. Helicopters also provided assistance to crews working to contain the Archer Fire in Washington. Overnight, Oregon State Fire Marshall (OSFM) structure protection crews continued to mop up along I-84 and in Corbett while burnout operations were held on the east end. Due to increased moisture in the air and no substantial wind, the fire perimeter remained mostly unchanged overnight.
Weather conditions are expected to be favorable for firefighting activities today with lower temperatures, higher humidity and lighter winds. Activities today will emphasize protecting structures along Interstate 84 and Hwy 30. OSFM crews will continue to support burnout operations. They will be completing patrols to extinguish hot spots to the east and maintain containment lines in Cascade Locks. All aircraft are available for use today. Firefighters will be scouting on the eastern side of the fire in Hood River County for natural barriers like roads and trails to create a line of defense for homes the in that area. Preparations are underway for a strategic burnout to protect the community of Corbett on the fire's western edge, however that burnout may be delayed due to the moist conditions expected today. All firefighting efforts are aimed at restoring normal activities along the Columbia River and the Interstate 84/Hwy 30 corridor.
While today's weather is giving firefighters a bit of breathing room, conditions in upcoming days will revert to drier, windier conditions. As always firefighter and public safety are the primary objective while fighting the Eagle Creek Fire.
Resources Assigned: 4 Type 1 (Hotshot) crews, 11 Type 2 crews and 5 Type 2 Initial Attack Crews; 104 Engines;
12 helicopters; 987 Personnel
Location: Hood River and Multnomah Counties, Oregon; originated 1 mile south of Cascade Locks, Oregon
Start Date: September 2, 2017, 6:02 p.m. Size: Approximately 33,682 acres
Cause: Unknown Percent Contained: 7
Vegetation: Timber (Litter and Understory)
Additional fire, closure and evacuation information can be found at the following sites.
Highway Closures: https://www.tripcheck.co
Oregon Smoke Information: https://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/
Multnomah County Sheriff Flash Alert https://flashalert.net/id/MCSO/107579?alert=1
Hood River County Sheriff http://www.hoodriversheriff.com
For more on Oregon's major fires: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/38/