Contact: Brian Ballou, Information Officer, (541) 621-4156
Fire at a glance:
Size: 5,016 acres
Containment: 20 percent
Firefighting resources: 7 hand crews, 12 fire engines, 2 bulldozers, 2 water tenders, 232 total personnel
The Sugarloaf Fire is expected to burn more intensely today. The moisture from Sunday’s thunderstorms has dissipated, resulting in drier fuels and lower relative humidity. The amount the fire spreads will be largely influenced by winds and topography. The primary fuels inside the fire perimeter are grasslands and juniper trees in the low country and pine and fir stringers on the upper slopes. This lightning-caused fire covers 5,016 acres and is 20% contained. There are 232 persons assigned to day shift on the fire.
On Monday, progress was made on extinguishing areas around structures on Dick Creek Road. Helicopters were used to cool an area with steep slopes and heavy fuels above Johnny Creek on the north edge of the fire. Dozers worked on creating and improving fuel breaks along the north and east edges of the fire.
Steep slopes and limited access are restricting the suppression efforts on several areas of the fire. Due to steep, broken terrain, fire lines are being dug by hand along parts of the northeast and south edges of the fire. Unburned pockets of fuel inside the current fire area also continue to burn. Engines are patrolling the perimeter roads and the Dick Creek Road to extinguish hot spots near structures. Approximately 12 structures in the Dick Creek Road area were threatened by the fire.
Yesterday this fire team assumed command of a new fire that started to the west of the Sugarloaf Fire. The Blue Basin Fire burned about 400 acres east of State Route 19, largely within the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Fire personnel will be working to control this fire without damaging the special resources in the Monument. This is a human-caused fire, under investigation.
The Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team 1 assumed command of the Sugarloaf Fire at 6:00 a.m. yesterday. The team is working for the Bureau of Land Management, the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and ODF’s Central Oregon District. The fire is located approximately 8 miles north of Dayville. This incident is being managed as a full suppression fire. Efforts are being made to contain the fire and minimize private acreage burned.
Sensitive sites within the fire area include nationally recognized fossil beds, anadromous fish spawning beds and golden eagle nesting sites. Firefighters are using care to minimize suppression impacts in these areas while they take the actions necessary to contain the fire.
Hazards confronting firefighters include rattlesnakes, lightning, and hot, dry weather. High winds around thunderstorms may cause erratic fire behavior and rapid movement.
Information about the Sugarloaf Fire is posted online at www.centralorfireinfo.blogspot.com.