BLUE RIVER, Ore. - The Terwilliger Fire burning at Cougar Reservoir on the Willamette National Forest has grown to more than 6,800 acres but has reached 17 percent containment, officials said Wednesday as a wind shift apparently blew the wildfire's smoke back into the Bend area.
Air quality readings which had improved in recent days were back in the "unhealthy for sensitive groups" category for Bend and Sisters on Wednesday morning.
Here's the Wednesday morning update from fire officials:
Size: 6,866 acres
Cause: Under Investigation
Location: 5 miles SE of Blue River
Structures Destroyed: 0
Total Personnel: 477 including 13 hand crews, 19 engines, 7 dozers, 12 water tenders, and 4 helicopters
Incident Commander: Alan Sinclair with the Southwest Area Type 2 Incident Management Team #3
Southwest Area Incident Management Team #3 will begin transition with Northern Rockies Team 4. They will begin shadowing Team #3 in preparation of taking over command at 0600 on Thursday morning.
Yesterday, fire behavior was active as temperatures were higher than normal, with low humidity and steady winds. On the southern perimeter of the fire, it continued to grow and run up Hardy Ridge in rough terrain and producing spot fires nearby. Air operations engaged the western and southwestern perimeters with over 20 hours of combined flight time and dropping over 60,000 gallons of water, the highest since operations have started.
Overnight, smoke moved to the northwest and southeast of the fire area. It settled in the valleys and is anticipated to clear by midday. Temperatures will cool to average for the area, though humidity will continue to be at or below average levels keeping fuels at a very dry state contributing to more active fire behavior.
Today, crews plan to continue to secure the northwest perimeter along the 1986 road as the fire moves north from Basalt Creek. Work is being done building a contingency line on the Campbell Global property line. Fire fighters will also focus on expanding the southwest perimeter containment line where burnout operations were successful. Along the southern point of the fire, crews are establishing a direct line along the 1985 and 27 roads.
With Labor Day weekend this coming weekend, recreational visitors are expected to arrive and fill many local campgrounds. Closures and campfire bans will remain in place during this time. With fire activity being high and fire danger listed as “VERY HIGH” for the Willamette National Forest, open flames will not be permitted. Devices using pressurized liquid or gas, are allowable.
Closures: Willamette National Forest has implemented Closure Order # 06-18-01-18-17 seethe closures tab on InciWeb for more details, map and a pdf of the original Forest Order.
Restrictions: The Willamette National Forest has implemented a forest-wide campfire ban, which includes all campgrounds and Wilderness areas. For specific information and on Forest Order 06-18-00-18 Public Use Restrictions see the Willamette National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices.
Temporary Flight Restrictions: Temporary flight restrictions (TFR) are in effect around the entire fire area. Remember, that temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems (drones). If you fly, we can’t!
Meanwhile, the Watson Creek Fire 6 miles southwest of Paisley has grown to 57,371 acres and is now 75 percent contained, despite a spot fire caught Tuesday near Buckaroo Springs and FS Road 3510. The total assigned personnel is down just a bit, to 931 people.