Petes Lake Fire Update | August 30, 2023

Resources: 200 Total Personnel | 4 Hand Crews | 1 WaterTender | 4 Helicopters 

Central Oregon – Petes Lake Fire started by lightning strike on Friday, August 25, along 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. The fire is burning five miles west of Elk Lake. The fire is currently 487 acres. 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. The Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 10 (NWT10) led by Incident Commander Alan Lawson, took command of the fire at 6:00 a.m. today. Crews continue to arrive to support the incident. 

Yesterday: Hand crews started reducing brush and small diameter trees to create a shaded fuel break along the western side of the Cascade Lakes Highway between Lava Lake and Devils Lake. 

Today: In some locations, hand crews will be aided by mechanized equipment, including masticators, to construct the shaded fuel break along the Cascades Lakes Highway from Lava Lake north to Devils Lake. A structural protection group is scheduled to arrive today to review and update plans previously devised for structures along the Cascades Lakes Highway.  

Closures: On August 28, the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests implemented a forest closure order for the Petes Lake Fire burning within the Mink Lake Basin in the Three Sisters Wilderness. The order and map can be found here: fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD1134682.   

Evacuation: Orders issued Sunday by Deschutes County Sheriff remain in place: https://www.deschutes.org/sheriff/page/emergency-information.  

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.   

Level 1 (Be Ready) Pre-Evacuation notice is issued for areas around Elk Lake down to Little Lava Lake. This means “Be Ready” for potential evacuation. Be aware of danger in the area.

Level 2 – (Be Set) to evacuate at a moment’s notice. There are no level 2 evacuations currently.)  

Weather: A cooling trend is forecast over the fire area for the next 24-48 hours. Multiple weather systems will bring a slight chance of rain showers Wednesday. 

Safety: Fire personnelare working along the highway. The public can assist fire staff by using caution when driving along the Cascades Lakes Highway.  

Smoke: Smoke from the Petes Lake Fire and other fires may affect communities around the region. Information about current conditions and a smoke forecast is located at: https://www.oregonsmoke.org/ or  https://www.airnow.gov/aqi-widgets/  or  https://www.wildlandfiresmoke.net/smoke-ready 

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