ODF John Day Unit: More Fires Reported from Thunderstorms, More Expected

[John Day, Ore.]  Late Tuesday evening two new fires were reported on private land protected by Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) John Day Unit.  The Dissel Creek Fire was reported just before 6:00 p.m., burning five miles southeast of John Day.  While firefighters worked to stop the initial spread of the Dissel Creek Fire a report for a second fire, the Cole Canyon Fire, was received.  This fire is located seven miles northeast of Monument. 

The Dissel Creek Fire was 100% contained late Tuesday night with a combination of hand and dozer line around the fire’s perimeter.  A small spot across the fireline was secured by firefighters this morning.  Fire crews will work today to strengthen the perimeter and mop-up the interior of the fire, gridding through the fire to find flames and heat.  Dozers, wildland engines, helitack, a Type 4 engine from Prairie City Rural, a helicopter with bucket, and a single engine air tanker (SEAT) were used to check the fire spread at just over one acre.  An isolated lightning strike Tuesday evening ignited the Dissel Creek Fire.

This morning the Cole Canyon Fire is estimated to be 75 acres with dozer line around 50% of the fire’s edge.  Dozers will continue fireline construction today.  Three 20-person contract crews will arrive this morning to work with the dozers to strengthen the fireline and construct hand line in areas too steep for dozers to safely work.  Additional wildland engines and overhead will also be arriving this morning.  Local aircraft, a helicopter and three SEATs have been ordered for the fire this morning to assist in holding the fire in place while line is being constructed.  The fire is burning on private lands and Prineville Bureau of Land Management lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry. 

Firefighters on the Cottonwood Creek Fire, five miles south of Fossil, have made significant progress mopping-up the fire’s interior.  Containment has increased to 65% today, with plans for transitioning the fire to a Type 4 organization later this morning.  Two hand crews and four contract wildland engines remain on the fire to complete the mop-up work. 

Fire crews will be focusing work to secure fire perimeters in anticipation of a cold front moving through on Thursday.  Strong wind and additional lightning is forecast for the coming days.  Additional holdover fires from thunderstorms earlier this week are also a concern today as temperatures warm.

A Regulated-Use Closure is in effect for the Central Oregon District to reduce human caused fires.  The full proclamation and restrictions are available at https://gisapps.odf.oregon.gov/firerestrictions/PFR.html.  Preventing human caused fires allows firefighters to focus suppression effort on fires started by lightning.  These focused activities result in smaller fires with less damage to natural resources and communities and fewer impacts to air quality.

For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, please visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.

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