DUFUR, OR -- A new wildfire is growing quickly with strong winds, in Wasco County. The South Valley Fire was first spotted Wednesday, and spread five to seven miles over a four hour period. As of Thursday morning, it's estimated at 15,000 acres and just 5% contained. Governor Kate Brown Wednesday night declared a conflagration, clearing the way for more resources to attack the blaze.
Stefan Meyer, with the Oregon Fire Marshals Office, says, "The Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office has been deployed to this fire. We brought an Incident Management Team, as well as three task forces that came in last night. We have three more task forces that are on the way; those are coming from several counties throughout our state." He adds, "We are going to be focused on saving structures that are in the line of the fire, as well as life safety, out here."
The fire is burning in oak, ponderosa pine and wheat fields. Mandatory evacuations are in place, and Meyer says 80-100 buildings are threatened. "We do know we've lost structures. We don't have an exact number of how many have been effected, as well as whether they were dwellings or outbuildings."
ODOT shut down a portion of Highway 197 overnight, Wednesday, due to low visibility and firefighter activity. It reopened early Thursday. There have been no reports of injuries. The fire was human caused, but the source has not been revealed.
Photo: Courtesy KPTV FOX 12