Firefighters on the 1620 Road Fire west of Parkdale made significant progress constructing firelines Wednesday and toward control of the blaze.
“We have a lot of work to do. Mop-up will be super-critical in the next couple of days, especially if we hit a warming trend, which is expected,” said Oregon Department of Forestry spokeswoman Christie Shaw.
The combined fire acreage is 72 acres with 75 percent containment and 50 percent control, as of Thursday afternoon, according to Shaw. No structures are threatened and no firefighter injuries have been reported.
About 300 people were working the fire, with the focus Tuesday and Wednesday on the spot fire that grew out of the main one.
The rain dampened the fire on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s no longer smoke and active flame,” Shaw said. Planes and helicopters bearing retardant and water were deployed throughout the day Tuesday.
Mop-up work adjacent to the fireline continues on portions of the fire where firelines are established and secure. Firefighters were able to take advantage of increased humidity and wetting rain Wednesday, which moderated fire behavior and allowed them to focus on line construction. The fire was first reported Monday morning burning on private lands approximately four miles west of Parkdale near Red Hill Road. Late Monday afternoon, the fire spotted to the east and became established in a steep draw with difficult access. Terrain, fuels and weather have challenged firefighters working to construct hand fireline on the spotfire. The original fire has dozer line and roads securing the perimeter. The cause of the fire is still under investigation at this time.
Monitoring a ‘dirty burn’
With the moderated fire behavior, firefighters were able to get around the fire perimeter with GPS receivers and have been able to improve the mapping of the fire perimeters.
Thursday, firefighters continues to construct and secure fireline around the perimeter of the spotfire and mop-up where possible. Direct fireline is being used to minimize acres burned and loss of resources. Firefighters will be using a grid pattern to work through both fires as they mop-up, to ensure there is no heat or flame within the unburned fuels inside and outside the fire perimeters.
“It’s burning on tough ground,” Shaw said.
She termed the fire area a “dirty burn”, referring to the prevalence of heated or smoldering material, among or underneath unburned material.
Firefighters are working to douse materials not just around the edges of the fire.
“These are portions and sometimes hidden fuels that are not clearly burned through, and firefighters must pull apart grass and other green material because, frequently, there is burning material underneath,” Shaw said.