More than 100 firefighters have responded to a new start 40 miles east of Prineville on the northeast corner of the Maury Mountains. The Cemetery Fire was reported yesterday after a lightning storm moved through the area Sunday afternoon. High afternoon temperatures and wind, as well as warm overnight temperatures, helped the fire grow to 1,000 acres by this morning. There is no estimate of containment at this time and a Type 3 Incident Management Team has assumed command of the fire.
The fire is burning in a mix of grass and juniper on the north and east sides of the fire, and timber throughout the rest of the area. Firefighters will face several challenges today including limited access, dry fuels, wind, extremely low relative humidity and high temperatures. More crews have been ordered to help fight the fire, and helicopters and single engine air tankers will support ground resources throughout the day. Land ownership includes the Ochoco National Forest, Prineville District BLM, and private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.
This fire comes at a time when SW Oregon is seeing significant fire activity. With firefighting resources mobilizing around the state to respond to the onslaught of new lightning fires, the public is encouraged to be extremely cautious when out recreating, working on, or visiting public and private lands. Adding human-caused wildfires from causes like an escaped burn barrel, an abandoned campfire, a vehicle parked on dry grass, a dragging trailer chain, or careless disposal of burning material like a cigarette or barbeque briquettes will stretch fire suppression capabilities even more. Help us focus on the fires we can’t prevent – and prevent the fires we can!