CENTRAL OREGON – Firefighters worked through the night on the two large fires burning in Central Oregon, the Tepee Fire on the Deschutes National Forest and the Willow Fire on the Prineville District BLM.
The Tepee Fire grew to 1592 acres last night pushed by strong winds. Weather conditions moderated in the early morning hours and dozers were able to get fire line around 60% of the fire, mostly on the western flank. Uncontained fire continues to push to the east. The fire is burning in brush and timber and crews will begin mopping up containment lines on the west side of Forest Road 18. Forest Road 18 remains closed from the 1820 junction to the 1830 junction for public safety. Firefighters will continue working to put in fire line today.
The Willow Fire is estimated at 80 acres and the BLM is in unified command with Jefferson County to manage the fire burning south of Pelton Dam and Willow Canyon, approximately 6 miles northwest of Madras. Heavy air tankers, Single Engine Air Tankers and a heavy helicopter have been assisting firefighters on the ground and the Willow Fire is now 20% contained. Firefighters are working with a task force of structure protection engines to protect homes in the area. There’s a Level 1 evacuation notice for the residents on Elk Drive.
Both fires reported today are human caused starts that are under investigation. As a reminder, Central Oregon public lands are in public use restrictions and campfires are only allowed within designated campgrounds. Central Oregon is still in EXTREME fire danger and fuels are very receptive to ignitions sources. Be diligent with all ignitions sources and know the use restrictions in the areas where you plan to recreate.