Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Boxcar and Jack Knife Fire Update, June 26, 9:00 a.m.

June 26, 2018  9:00 a.m. Update

 Boxcar Fire:   99,500 acres   Containment: 60%      Reported: June 21, 7:48 a.m.     Cause: Lightning

Jack Knife Fire:  14,772 acres   Containment: 80%   Reported: June 22, 8:11 a.m.   Cause: Lightning

 Maupin, Oregon – Despite gusty winds yesterday, cooler weather helped firefighters continue to build and improve containment lines. Estimated containment for the Boxcar Fire has increased to 60% and for the Jack Knife Fire to 80%.

 The Boxcar Fire is now 99,500 acres.  More than 100 miles of containment line on the fire are being monitored by firefighters who mop-up hotspots as they are found. Emphasis is still being directed in the Deschutes River Canyon where heat can persist under juniper trees and sage brush. Steep, rocky, inaccessible terrain is a challenge for firefighters in this area. A BLM jet boat transported firefighters up river yesterday to assess structures and develop contingency plans, should fire activity increase.

Yesterday afternoon, as firefighters were completing fireline on the East flank of the Boxcar Fire, some active fire between Highway 197 and Bakeoven Road was suppressed with helicopter water drops.  Overall, smoke in the fire area was minimal in comparison to past days, with a few sources well within the fire’s perimeter.  The smoke will continue to decrease as time passes and the fuels are consumed.

The Jack Knife Fire remains at 14,772 acres. Firefighters continued to search for hotspots yesterday.  Little to no heat or smoke was found within the fire perimeter. In order to be closer to their assigned area, firefighters have been staying at a satellite camp in the town of Moro.  As the Jack Knife Fire shifts to patrol status, fewer firefighters are needed and will base from the primary Fire Camp in Maupin.

The Boxcar (including South Junction) and Jack Knife Fires are full suppression fires, with priorities of protecting firefighter and public safety and limiting impact to structures, natural and cultural resources.  The response to these fires has been a cooperative effort by local ranchers, the Central Oregon Fire Management Service, and the Ashwood-Antelope Rural Fire Protection Association. Lightning ignited over 70 fires across Central Oregon June 20 and 21.  Of the hundreds of lightning strikes, only 4 became large wildfires.

Today’s weather will be warmer than yesterday (82 degrees) with lower relative humidity (20%).  Winds will be approximately 10 mph from the north/northwest.  This will be a relatively benign weather day, with opportunity to complete firefighting tasks.  However, with the onset of summer, warming temperatures and unseasonably dry grassy fuels, we ask the community and visitors to stay vigilant in being fire safe. Just one spark can start a wildfire. Dragging trailer chains, leaving campfires unattended, parking in dry grass, discharging firearms or fireworks, tossing cigarettes, and using mechanical equipment without spark arrestors are all known causes of wildfires.


·         The John Day River camping closures associated with the Jack Knife Fire have been lifted today.

·         A Level 1 Evacuation Notification continues to be in place for the area bounded by Hwy 97, Bakeoven Road, the Deschutes River, and the South Junction Road. Residents should be aware of the local wildfires and consider how they would evacuate should conditions change.

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