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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sugarloaf Fire spreads to 5,500 acres in Central Oregon

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Central Oregon Fire EVENING Update

PRINEVILLE, Ore. – In the past 24 hours firefighters have responded to 21 new fires across Central Oregon, with that number expected to grow as new fires are found or are ignited by additional lightning.  Most fires remained small and currently are being mopped up or have been contained. 

The largest fire, and of greatest concern, is the 5,500-acre Sugarloaf Fire burning on BLM Prineville District lands, approximately 9 miles north of Dayville near Kimberly, Ore.  An outbuilding and a vehicle have been destroyed. The fire is burning in grass and shrub fuels. Other structures are threatened by the fire, and residents within the Dick Creek Road area were evacuated by the Grant County Sheriff’s Department.

Several air tankers, helicopters and crews were dispatched to the fire; however, air tankers were hampered by strong winds late in the afternoon. A Type 3 Team also was assigned to the fire in the afternoon. County resources and firefighters with Central Oregon Fire Management Services (COFMS) will continue to respond to the fire.

Another fire, near Mill Creek Wilderness on the Ochoco National Forest also caused concern early in the afternoon. Firefighters were able to get a handle on the fire and at this point have been able to keep the fire small.

The two largest fires at the beginning of today, the Bear Creek Fire and the Buck Fire, burned grass and shrub also on BLM Prineville District lands around Brothers, Ore. The Bear Creek Fire was approximately 75 acres and the Buck Fire was approximately 250 acres. Both fires were being held and mopped up by the end of the day.

Smoke columns from fires in the Paulina Lake area of Newberry National Volcanic Monument of the Deschutes National Forest were very visible during the day because they were burning heavy timber; however, they were easily contained and kept small.

With more lightning expected overnight combined with extremely dry fuels and gusting winds, fire official expect a need for continued fire response over the next several days.

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The purpose of this blog is to provide breaking news about wildfire activity on the forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. We invite you to post questions or comments about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity.

Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters predictions that Oregon would see above average temperatures and below average rainfall in the summer of 2018 proved true. Almost all of Oregon was abnormally dry this summer, with a majority of the state in moderate to severe drought. Many areas posted record high temperatures or record strings of hot days. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.

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Protection jurisdiction
The Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects 16 million acres of private and public forestlands from wildfire. This includes all private forestlands in Oregon as well as state and local government-owned forests, along with 2.8 million acres of federal Bureau of Land Management lands in the western part of the state. In total there are about 30.4 million acres of forest in Oregon.

Fire suppression policy
The department fights fire aggressively, seeking to put out most fires at 10 acres or smaller. This approach minimizes damage to the timber resource and fish and wildlife habitat, and protects lives and property. It also saves money. While suppressing large fires can cost millions of dollars, economic and environmental damage from wildfires can be many times greater.


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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers in Salem, Ore., maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.