PRINEVILLE, Ore. - Two area closures around fires near Cultus Lake and the John Day River were lifted Tuesday as firefighters continue to make progress on the remaining blazes in Central Oregon, officials said.
Meanwhile, firefighters on the 48-acre Ferguson Springs Fire, about nine miles southeast of Prineville Reservoir, are slowly being released as containment is now at 90 percent, officials said Thursday.
Another, six-acre fire, three miles north of Rager Ranger Station, is now considered 100 percent contained, the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville said in its Thursday update.
Resources continue to be available to respond to any new reports that come in, they said. as fire danger is still high for Central Oregon.
But the noted that a stable westerly flow has moved into the area and will bring calmer winds out of the west, with no thunderstorms expected.
No growth has occurred on the 2 1/4-acre fire in the Mt Jefferson Wilderness. The smokejumpers working on this fire are wrapping up fire suppression activities and were being released Thursday afternoon.
Public use restrictions as well as an Industrial Fire Precaution Level III are still in place for federal lands in Central Oregon. The public use restriction currently prohibits open fires, including charcoal fires, except in designated campgrounds.
IFPL III means that personal and commercial woodcutters are prohibited from operating power saws. Public use restrictions and the IFPL III apply to the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Crooked River National Grassland, and the BLM Prineville District. For details on these specific restrictions, please contact the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center at 541-416-6811.
More progress was reported on the 65,000-acre South Fork Complex five miles south of Dayville around the south fork of the John Day River. The fire is burning in a mix of private, BLM, U.S. Forest Service, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife managed lands.
Currently, the South Fork Complex is 86 percent contained, with an estimated containment date of Sept. 1. There are continued closures in place due to fire activity. The fire information number for this incident is 866-347-0636 or find the most recent closures and announcements at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4042/.
The Deschutes National Forest has rescinded the order that closed a portion of the forest north of Cultus Lake to the public.
An area closure was put in place to provide for public and firefighter safety during active suppression efforts on the Muskrat Fire, about two miles northwest of Cultus Lake. All Forest Service roads, trails, campgrounds and other facilities on the forest within the closure area have reopened to public use.
Several campgrounds were closed due to the Muskrat Fire, including the boat-in West Cultus Campground, which is now open to the public.
The public is urged to use caution when traveling in the back country near the recently burned area because dead or weakened trees have the potential to fall down.
Campfire restrictions and an Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3 "partial shutdown" remain in effect on the Deschutes National Forest, along with the Ochoco National Forest, Crooked River National Grassland and the Prineville BLM.
Also on Thursday, the Ochoco National Forest said it is rescinding the order that closed a large section of the forest surrounding the Buck Fork Fire (part of the South Fork Complex) near the South Fork of the John Day River.
The rescission is effective 12:01 a.m on Friday. All Forest Service roads, trails, campgrounds and other facilities on the forest within the closure area will reopen to public use at that time.
Areas reopening include:
The west side of the South Fork of the John Day River, Frazier Creek Campground, Mud Springs Campground, that portion of Forest Road 58 east of the intersection with Forest Road 5840 and Forest Road 5870.
The previous closure was put in place to provide for public and firefighter safety during active suppression efforts on multiple wildfires.
While firefighters continue to manage fires within the forest, fire behavior has subsided to the point that an area closure is no longer necessary.
The Ochoco National Forest urges the public to use caution when traveling near recently burned areas because dead or weakened trees have the potential to be hazardous.
Motorists can also expect to see firefighters and fire vehicles traveling forest roads, so please drive with caution.
Campfire restrictions and an Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3 "partial shutdown" remain in effect on the Ochoco National Forest, along with the Crooked River National Grassland, the Deschutes National Forest and the Prineville BLM.
For additional questions, contact Public Affairs Officer Patrick Lair at (541) 416-6647.