SUNRIVER, Ore. - The Deschutes National Forest announced Sunday it will reopen Forest Road 40 and Forest Road 45 (River Summit Road) on Monday at 8 a.m. due to continued progress on the Sheridan Fire southwest of Sunriver that as of Sunday was 80 percent contained. Besson Day Use Area will also reopen.
Roadside hazards related to firefighting efforts have been cleared along these main routes to allow safe passage for vehicles," officials said. "However, firefighters may still be working in the area and may utilize or work on these roads. Motorists are asked to use caution while traveling, reduce speed and do not attempt to pass fire traffic."
As a reminder, an area closure remains in effect while firefighters strengthen containment lines on the Sheridan Fire. In addition to the area closure, Wanoga and Edison sno-parks are closed to the public while they are being used to stage firefighting personnel and equipment.
As the area surrounding the fire becomes safe for public use, closures will continue to be reassessed and lifted as areas become safe for public use.
The Sheridan Fire started last Wednesday about two miles west of Sunriver and swiftly grew to 191 acres in the first 24 hours.
Aggressive firefighting efforts have kept the fire within planned containment lines. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Due to the progress in the firefighting effort, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, in cooperation with fire management officials, on Saturday lifted the Level 1 "Be Ready" evacuation notice in the Fall River Estates Subdivision and Fall River Fish Hatchery.
Follow the sheriff's office on Twitter @DeschutesSO for updates.
The Sheriff's Office encourages you to register your phone with Deschutes Alerts Program through Deschutes County 9-1-1. That link can be located at:
Information regarding fires in Central Oregon can be located at:
Oregon Evacuation Level Descriptions:
Level 1: Be Ready - There is an incident in the area and residents should be aware of the danger. Monitor media outlets for information and gather items in case an evacuation is issued.
Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs, mobile property and (under certain circumstances) pets and livestock. If conditions worsen, emergency services personnel may contact you via an emergency notification system.
Level 2: Be Set - There is significant danger in the area and residents should leave voluntarily or be prepared to leave at a moment's notice. If conditions deteriorate rapidly, emergency services cannot guarantee they will be able to provide notification.
YOU MUST PREPARE TO LEAVE AT A MOMENTS NOTICE This level indicates there is significant danger to your area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. Residents MAY have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk.
THIS MAY BE THE ONLY NOTICE THAT YOU RECEIVE. Emergency services cannot guarantee that they will be able to notify you if conditions rapidly deteriorate. Area media services will be asked to broadcast periodic updates.
Level 3: GO - Danger is current or imminent and residents should evacuate immediately.
LEAVE IMMEDIATELY! Danger to your area is current or imminent, and you should evacuate immediately. If you choose to ignore this advisement, you must understand that emergency services may not be available to assist you further. DO NOT delay leaving to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home.
THIS WILL BE THE LAST NOTICE THAT YOU RECEIVE. Entry to evacuated areas may be denied until conditions are safe. Area radio and TV stations have been asked to broadcast periodic updates.
Firefighters continue mop-up work Saturday on the Sheridan Fire, which began late Wednesday afternoon about two miles west of Sunriver and as of Friday was at 35 percent containment.
The 200-acre fire on Friday smoldered and occasionally torched trees within the perimeter. Two 1/4-acre spot fires were found and quickly put out by the 257 personnel, who will be mopping up for several days.
The Deschutes River reopened Friday between Harper's Bridge and the Sunriver Resort Marina. However, the closure could be reinstated if helicopters need to use the spot for dipping, officials said.
The National Weather Service issued a new fire weather/Red Flag warning for the region for 1-11 p.m. Sunday for low humidity and high winds.
These conditions challenge firefighters working on existing fires and increase the potential for a new start to spread rapidly.
Fire officials are asking everyone to use caution when recreating out in the woods and rangelands – make sure campfires are out when someone isn't there to watch them, dispose of cigarettes properly, and avoid parking over vegetation.
Thursday morning, a wind gust carried burning embers across containment lines, creating a two-acre spot fire in unburned fuel near the Sheridan Fire. A quick response from firefighters that included helicopter and air tanker support contained the new fire and kept it from growing.
A Type 3 incident management team took command of the fire at 6 a.m. Thursday.
The Level 1s evacuation notice affects an estimated 70 homes in the area.
Deschutes County residents can sign up to receive alerts by visiting this website: https://member.everbridge.net/index/892807736723736#/signup
Around 250 personnel have been engaged in the firefighting effort, which includes support from the Sunriver Fire Department, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Forest Service and the BLM, among other agencies.
Several roads surrounding the fire were closed to public traffic. Road closures are in place as of Friday at:
Forest Road 42/4220 junction
Forest Road 42/4230 junction
Forest Road 46/45 junction
Forest Road 40/4230 junction
Forest Road 40/41 junction
Forest Road 42/4240 junction
Forest Road 40/4270 junction
The latest information can be found at http://centralorfireinfo.blogspot.com
Thursday evening, crews stopped the spread of a new fire in La Pine at about an acre. The fire was reported north of Rosland Road, along a power line road; crews had hoses around it and were working toward full containment at nightfall.
The Sheridan fire was first reported Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. by the Lava Butte Lookout. The fire started near the junction of Forest Roads 40 and 45, about two miles west of Sunriver in lodgepole pine forest, and spread about a mile to the southwest throughout Wednesday evening.
The 250 firefighters had their "dozer line" around the fire by 2:30 a.m., as crews also completed backburns to strengthen the lines and rob the fire of fuel to spread, according to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center.
Officials at the incident command post at Wanoga Sno-Park said despite the progress, the fire still could spread to the south or southeast, so firefighting efforts Thursday focused on the southeast flank.
"Continuing today it's going to be improving that containment line and continuing to get this fire contained, and like I said, utilizing aerial resources when needed," said Shannon Berg of the Deschutes National Forest.
Berg said it's been a round the clock operation: "250 personnel engaging in the firefighting efforts today. Last night, it was a lot of putting dozer line around, trying to get dozer line around the fire, and then today we have aerial resources as well," said Berg.
They were assisted by 10 engines, four bulldozers, four water tenders and multiple crews and aircraft. Joining in the multi-agency effort are the Sunriver Fire Department, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Oregon Department of Forestry, Forest Service and BLM.
Around 8 p.m. Wednesday, fire officials said the blaze had been slowing down as temperatures cooled late in the day, but was spreading to the south-southeast.
The fire cause is unknown at this time, deputies said. With several road closures in place, the public was advised to stay out of the area.
"Just a reminder to the public -- we are in an extreme fire danger, and to make sure if you are out camping or recreating to put your fire dead out," Berg said.
The sheriff's office initially announced road closures including Century Drive at River Summit Drive, Spring River Road at Conklin Road and Forest Service Road 40 at the Crane Prairie cut-off. Some river floaters also were being contacted to get out of the water and avoid the area where helicopters were dipping for water.
To see a locator map, visit https://wildfiresnearme.wfmrda.com/wfnm/index
Meanwhile, a half-dozen small fires were reported in the Sisters area Wednesday evening. Five of them were spotted near Forest Road 16, about four miles south of Sisters, and one northeast of Black Butte, near Forest Road 11. All fires were 1/10th of an acre of less.
Crews contained one of the fires by Wednesday evening and continued working on the rest into the night and Thursday morning. The cause of those fires also remain under investigation.