Wildland and structural firefighters combined forces twice today to tackle two new wildfires in Central Oregon.
The Lower Valley fire was reported at noon today, burning about 8 miles west of Terrebonne off Lower Bridge Road, apparently started as a result of a fire that started on a hay truck. Numerous engines responded from the Forest Service and BLM, along with a structural task force made up of engines from Crook County, Sisters, Cloverdale and Redmond. Helicopters, heavy air tankers and single engine air tankers helped knock the fire down. As of this evening, the crews had stopped the forward progress of the fire and were beginning to put a hoselay around the perimeter and mop up. The fire reached about 75 acres.
The Willow Fire, burning about 8 miles northwest of Madras (2 milles NE of Pelton Dam), was reported at 1:30. As of this evening, the fire had grown to 70 acres. Crews initially focused on the east side of the fire, with structural and wildland crews working together to keep the fire from moving toward homes. Crews this evening are now working on the west side of the fire, which remains active on about 20 percent of the line. Cool temperatures this evening and rising relative humidity will help decrease fire behavior and help firefighters’ efforts. The cause of this fire is human-caused, with the specific cause under investigation.
Central Oregon is under a Red Flag Warning tomorrow for gusty winds and low relative humidity. Fires that ignite under windy conditions can grow very quickly. Fire officials want to remind everyone that public use restrictions are now in place in Central Oregon and that campfires are limited to a short list of developed campgrounds. For a copy of that list, visit http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/prineville/fire/alerts.php