Firefighters respond to new starts in Central Oregon today

Firefighters from Central Oregon Fire Management Service (the combined Deschutes National Forest, Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland, and Prineville District BLM firefighters) responded to several new starts today – assisting local departments with initial attack around the area.

Firefighters supported the La Pine Rural Fire District with a house fire that spread to nearby trees, helping contain the fire to about an acre.

Fire officials joined in unified command with the Cloverdale Fire Protection District to respond to a new start that caused the evacuation of part of the Cascade Estates subdivision east of Sisters Oregon and closed down Highway 20. The wildland response included two hand crews, 5 engines, 2 water tenders, and a dozer, with heavy and single-engine air tankers flying multiple loads of retardant from Redmond. Incident #930 was lined and forward progress stopped within a few hours, with the fire roughly estimated at 60 acres. The neighborhood will remain evacuated while crews work through the night to find and extinguish hotspot and hold and improve the line. Evacuees needing assistance can go to the Red Cross Shelter at the Five Pines Resort in Sisters. The Deschutes County Sheriff will determine when the evacuation can be lifted. The cause is under investigation.

Firefighters are also working on a new start south of Hwy 218 and 9 miles east of the John Day River and  Clarno, Oregon. The Porcupine II fire is also a human-caused fire that remains under investigation. The fire grew quickly, running in light grass and brush, to 500 acres. Wildland firefighters are in unified command with Wheeler County to respond to this incident. The wildland response to this fire includes 7 engines, 2 crews, 1 dozer and miscellaneous overhead personnel. Several helicopters have helped with air support and will be available to assist again tomorrow. A Type 3 Incident Management Team will assume command of the fire tomorrow morning. Firefighters will be challenged by high temperatures and low relative humidity, light, dry fuel, steep slopes and inaccessible terrain.

With the short period of cooler temperatures at an end, and temperatures increasing throughout the next several days as humidity drops, fire officials want to remind everyone to use caution when working or recreating on public and private land. Avoid parking over dry vegetation, dispose of cigarette butts appropriately, extinguish campfires – when they are allowed – properly and do not have a campfire where there are restrictions, check trailer chains to make sure they don’t drag and remember that fireworks and exploding targets are illegal on public land. Smokey Bear just had his 74th birthday – give him the present of preventing a human-caused fire!

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