Firefighters have spent much of the past two days building containment line around the Rhoades Canyon Fire and burning out between the constructed line and the active fire. With the burnouts, the fire acreage has increased to 14,000 acres and containment has increased to 50%. The cause remains under investigation.
"Burning out" is a technique that allows firefighters to put containment lines in safer, more accessible areas such as roads, or along existing barriers like streams or rock slides. Firefighters then deliberately ignite a fire that burns between the line and the wildfire, which removes any pockets of unburned vegetation and prevents the main fire from spreading.
For the next day on the Rhoades Canyon Fire, firefighters will continue to construct fireline, as well as hold and improve existing containment lines. Concerns for the next burning period include increasing temperatures, low relative humidity, and afternoon winds that typically come through this area.
The Rhoades Canyon Fire is burning east of Clarno, Oregon, south of Hwy 218, and east of the John Day River. The river remains open and the Clarno boat launch is not affected; however, boaters should be aware that helicopters may be using the river to dip buckets. In addition, as needed, ODOT will provide a pilot car to bring people along Highway 218, with delays expected at less than 20 minutes.
As a reminder, conditions are getting hotter and drier in Central Oregon. Everyone recreating on public land should use caution and follow fire restrictions. Know before you go! Call ahead and find out what's allowed where you plan to recreate. In Central Oregon, fireworks and exploding targets like Tannerite are illegal on public lands and campfires and BBQs are prohibited along most BLM portions of the John Day, Lower Deschutes, Crooked and White Rivers.