Redmond, Oregon –The Emerson Fire, burning approximately 6 miles northeast of Madras, continued to grow overnight and is now estimated to be 10,600 acres. Firefighters were able to make good progress through the evening utilizing existing roads and dozers to put in fire line. The fire is now 40% contained at this time.
The Central Oregon Type 3 team assumed command of the incident this morning. Resources currently on the scene include several engines, two dozers, four contact crews and two hot shot crews, one water tender and miscellaneous overhead. Aerial resources will be available as needed today, and more resources and crews have been ordered. The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Jefferson County Rural Fire District are working together to contain this incident.
Crews will be working to construct fireline to contain and secure the perimeter. The fire is burning in a mix of grass and brush on private land and the Crooked River National Grassland. Challenges today include high temperatures, afternoon wind and storms, powerlines and steep terrain. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning “abundant lightning and gusty outflow winds” that will be in effect from 1:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. today.
No homes are threatened at this time. The highway remains open; however motorists should use caution due to fire suppression vehicles and crews working in the area. If smoke affects visibility, motorists should reduce speed and turn on headlights.
As we reach the peak of fire season, fire officials want to remind the public that hot and dry weather conditions have created extreme fire conditions throughout Central Oregon. Fire restrictions are now in place on public lands, limiting campfires to only designated campgrounds. The public is asked to avoid driving or parking over dry grass. Fireworks and exploding targets are always illegal on public lands.
The Emerson fire began as two separate fires (incident #638) along Highway 97 north of Madras that eventually burned together. The fires were reported at 3:30 p.m. on July 25.
Information will also continue to be posted on the Central Oregon Fire Information Blog at http://centralorfireinfo.blogspot.com/ and you can follow Central Oregon wildfires on Twitter @CentralORFire.