Petes Lake Fire Update | August 29, 2023

Central Oregon — The Petes Lake Fire is burning on the border of the McKenzie River Ranger District of the Willamette National Forest and the Bend Fort-Rock Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest in the Mink Lake Basin area of the Three Sisters Wilderness approximately five miles west of Elk Lake.

The fire is currently estimated at 300 acres and 0% contained. Inclement weather and poor visibility have hampered efforts to accurately map the fire. The fire is under a local Type 3 incident management team. Northwest Team 10, a Type 2 incident management team, in-briefed this morning and will assume command of the fire on August 30, 2023.

Today, firefighters will continue to plan and implement work on the shaded fuel break from Lava Lake north to Devils Lake along the west side of the Cascade Lakes Highway. Shaded fuel breaks thin dense tree stands to reduce fire’s intensity while retaining enough shade to slow down ground fire.

The following resources are currently assigned: 1 hotshot crew, 2 Type 2 initial attack handcrews, and 20 overhead. Two dedicated Type-2 helicopters are assigned to the incident.

The Willamette and Deschutes National Forests closure for the Petes Lake was implemented yesterday. The closure order and associated map can be found here: fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD1134682

The evacuation orders issued Sunday by Deschutes County Sheriff remain in place.

A Level 3 (Go Now) Evacuation notice is issued for all areas west of the Cascade Lakes Hwy from the Lucky Lake Trailhead north to the Mirror Lake Trail. This includes the areas around Lucky Lake, Leech Lake, Doris Lake, Blow Lake and Mirror Lakes. Level 3: Means “GO” evacuate now. Leave immediately! Danger to your area is current or imminent, and you should evacuation immediately.

A Level 1 (Be Ready) Pre-Evacuation notice is issued for areas around Elk, Hosmer, Lava and Little Lave Lakes. This includes areas east of Cascade Lakes Hwy from Blue Lagoon north to Quinn Meadows. Level 1: Means “Be Ready“ for potential evacuation. Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. Fire staff may be seen in this area assessing structures. This preparation allows fire crews to have a plan in place should the fire get close to the Cascade Lakes Highway.

The public will see increased fire staff and resources arriving at Wanoga and Kapka Sno-Parks today. Please be aware of increased traffic in these areas and respect these recreation site closures so fire staff can focus on managing the fire. Current closures include Wanoga and Kapka Sno-Parks.

The Petes Lake Fire started the evening of Friday, August 25. Due to poor visibility, aircraft and firefighters were not able to reach the fire until Saturday morning. Due to the location of this wilderness fire, Central Oregon Fire Management Service (COFMS) supported on-the-ground resources with initial attack by providing aerial delivery of firefighters and supplies. Due to decreased visibility from heavy smoke, aviation support has been limited.

For current wildland fire information, the public can visit centraloregonfire.org or follow fire information on Twitter @CentralORFire.

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