BEND, OR -- There are about a dozen major fires burning across Oregon, but our tri-county area has – so far – escaped a large-scale wildfire. Several local fires have been held at fewer than 30 acres. But, Kassidy Kern, with the Deschutes National Forest, says others aren’t so lucky, "We feel like, ‘well, our fire season’s not been so bad. We’ve been sucking some smoke from southwest Oregon, but not too bad.’ But, we have to remember that our neighbors to the east, here, have had a pretty rough fire season and it gets pretty taxing."
Kern tells KBND News
other areas within the Central Oregon Fire Management Service have seen a lot of activity, "We have public lands from the Cascade Crest, all the way over, basically to the John Day River and up to The Dalles. A lot of that is BLM land and unfortunately that river corridor – the Maupin/Dufur area – has gotten hit extra hard." That area has seen three consecutive fires in the past month – the Substation, Long Hollow and South Valley fires have collectively burned over 100,000 acres.
While local resources are stretched, she says our area remains protected, "We always have a contingent of individuals here, for what we call ‘initial attack.’ Because, the way we can keep our community safe, keep costs down, limit exposure and risk to firefighters, is to keep these fires small. And so, our lookouts are scanning the skies, we’re getting dispatched out to fires quickly, and so far, we’ve been able to get on them."
Crews held the Allen Creek Fire northeast of Prineville at 27 acres; it was discovered Sunday and reached full containment Tuesday morning
. Tuesday evening, Bend Fire responded to a blaze near 27th and Stevens Road, at about 8:30 Tuesday night. It was stopped at a tenth of an acre and its cause is under investigation.
Public Use Restrictions increase Thursday on federally managed lands across Central Oregon. As of midnight, open fires, including charcoal briquette fires, will be prohibited in all local wilderness areas within the Prineville District of the BLM and the Ochoco, Deschutes and Willamette National Forests. Campfires and barbecues are still allowed in designated campgrounds. For specific details on all fire restrictions, click HERE.
Photo: The South Valley Fire near Dufur (pictured Aug. 2, 2018) is now 80% contained, at 20,026 acres.