MAUPIN, Ore. - (Update: New fire stopped near Lake Simtustus)
Crews reported good progress overnight, ahead of very hot weather Sunday, on containing a wildfire that broke out Saturday evening along the Deschutes River north of Maupin, while a new fire was tackled Sunday afternoon near Lake Simtustus.
The Oak Springs Fire was reported Saturday evening on BLM and private lands along the Deschutes, about three miles north of Maupin. By Sunday afternoon, it had grown to about 375 acres.
Contrary to initial reports, the fire didn't jump the Deschutes and is only on the west side of the river canyon, officials said.
Firefighters worked into early Sunday morning to protect structures and take advantage of favorable conditions, knowing Sunday would bring significant drying to fuels and the potential for winds.
Those efforts are paying off, they said, as the firefighters look at the possibility of having good containment on the fire Sunday evening.
The BLM advised river rafters in the area to be aware that helicopters will be dipping water out of the river to help fight the fire. Boaters may experience delays and should use caution when they see helicopters in the area.
Due to the fire, the road to Oak Springs Fish Hatchery was closed to the public Sunday.
Resources on the fire included rural fire protection resources from Oak Springs, two helicopters (one Type 1 and one Type 2), a 20-person hand crew, the Prineville Interagency Hotshots, three engines and miscellaneous overhead managers.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Fire officials advised the public that given current hot weather, fuels continue to dry out rapidly. Over the next couple of days, abundant lightning with little moisture is expected, making the potential for additional fire starts very high.
As if to underscore the point, Jefferson County Fire, with help from Warm Springs and Oregon State Police, were on the scene Sunday afternoon of an active grass fire along the Deschutes River near the reregulating dam below Lake Simtustus, south of Warm Springs, Jefferson County sheriff's deputies reported. They later reported the fire had been contained and mop-up was underway.