Petes Lake Fire Update | September 7, 2023

Fire Information: (541) 801-3564     

Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information/orwif-petes-lake-fire 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PetesLakeFireInfo 

Resources: 190 Total Personnel | 3 Hand Crews | 3 Dozers | 3 Helicopters |8 Engines | 8 Masticators | 2 Water Tenders

(Central Oregon) – The Petes Lake Fire was started by a lightning strike on Friday, August 25, near 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 has burned 329 acres, five miles west of Elk Lake.   

The Petes Lake Fire is burning in a wilderness area where terrain and access make it too dangerous to put firefighters on the ground. The fire has been tested over several days of warmer and drier weather; reconnaissance and infrared flights yesterday confirmed that the fire has remained mostly within its footprint. Fire managers have been implementing strategies that focus resources on protecting values at risk, if wind and weather cause the Petes Lake Fire to spread before sustained precipitation ends this year’s wildfire season. These measures, which will also serve against future fires, include a 9.7 mile shaded fuel break and a structure protection plan for 110 commercial and residential buildings to the east of the Cascade Lakes Highway.  As of this morning, the structure protection plan is complete and firefighters have finished 45% of the shaded fuel break. Crews plan to make greater gains on the fuel break today with the goal of discontinuing on Friday the daytime highway closure that has been in place since Tuesday. 

Tomorrow at 6 a.m. after a day of sharing information about the incident with the incoming team, Northwest Incident Management Team 10 (NWIMT 10) will transfer command to the smaller Central Oregon Fire Management Service (COFMS) Incident Management Team 1. Incident Commander Alan Lawson and the other members of NWIMT 10 extend their gratitude to the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests for their collaboration and assistance. The team also thanks the local residents, business owners and visitors for their unwavering support during this incident.  

This will be the final daily update for the Petes Lake Fire unless conditions change. 

After 6 p.m. today, the incident’s email, telephone and Facebook pages will no longer be monitored. For information, see the Petes Lake Fire Inciweb page or call the COFMS fire information line at (541) 316-7711.
Going forward, fire managers will continue to strengthen the control features to further protect values at risk, monitor the fire and remain prepared to respond to fire growth as necessary.  

Evacuations: The Level 3 (Go Now) Evacuation Notice is still in place for all areas west of the Cascade Lakes Highway 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. Evacuation notices and updates can be found at: www.deschutes.org/emergency.   

Closures: The closure order on the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests for the Petes Lake Fire remains in place and information can be found at: fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD1134682. Resorts along the Cascade Lakes Highway remain open for business, though visitors may encounter delays with road flaggers and pilot cars. The Wanoga SnoPark, Kapka SnoPark, Mirror Lake Trailhead and Point Campground are temporarily closed to the public.   

Safety: The public can help firefighters by obeying trail closures and following the detour instructions in the shaded fuel break work areas. Keep vehicle and bike speeds low near work areas. Follow all fire restrictions.   

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