C.O. crews tackle several small wildfires

708-acre Solitude Fire 75 percent contained

REDMOND, Ore. - Central Oregon wildland firefighters have responded to several small wildfires over the past 24 hours, in addition to continued suppression of the Solitude Fire near Spray, now 75 percent contained, officials said Friday afternoon.

On Friday afternoon, firefighters caught a vehicle fire in Jefferson County next to Pelton Dam that spread into roadside vegetation and stopped the fire before it grew beyond 1/10th of an acre. The fire was located on the east shoulder of NW Pelton Dam Road and reported at 3 p.m.

Around 1:30 p.m., a wildfire was reported on the Paulina Ranger District of the Ochoco National Forest on Round Mountain near Walton Lake. The fire was estimated at 1/3 of an acre, burning in heavy fuels. The responders included three engines, a helicopter, air attack, and heli-rappellers. Helicopters were dipping out of Walton Lake for the suppression effort.

The Solitude Fire was 75 percent contained Friday and reassessed at 708 acres in size. The fire was first reported last Sunday around 6:30 p.m., burning about five miles west of Spray along state Highway 19 and the John Day River.

About 250 people remained assigned to the fire Friday, including multiple air tankers and helicopters. The response includes state and federal firefighters, private contractors and the Wheeler County Rangeland Fire Protection Association.

A Red Flag warning was declared for 4-11 p.m. Friday due to high temperatures, gusty winds and low humidity.

There are currently no public use restrictions in effect across federal lands in Central Oregon, except annual campfire bans along the Crooked, Deschutes and John Day rivers on Prineville BLM-administered lands.

Central Oregon federal lands are currently under Industrial Fire Precaution Level 2, which allows chainsaw use but requires they are shut off by 1 p.m. each day to avoid fire danger in the afternoon hours.

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