The Red Hill Road fire first reported Monday morning has combined with a spot fire, spreading to a combined acreage of 85 acres. The fires are 35 percent lined and 10 percent contained. No structures are threatened or have been destroyed, and there have been no firefighter injuries reported, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation at this time, stated ODF; but the cause is believed to be the remnants of an unattended campfire, according to Mike McCafferty, Parkdale Fire Chief.
The fire started at an unofficial campsite just off the 1600 Road and Red Hill Road. McCafferty said Monday that Weyerhauser and ODF will investigate the scene, where “quite a bit of weekend party debris” was found. McCafferty said it appeared the campfire had not been completely doused.
Fire suppression is complicated by winds gusting from the west at 15-20 miles an hour. This caused 50-100-foot jumps in the fire, according to McCafferty.
The fires are burning in brush, slash and young timber on land owned by the Weyerhauser Timber Company approximately four miles west of Parkdale, Ore.
Firefighter and public safety are the priority for the incident, said the press release. Today’s objectives for firefighters is to hold and secure existing firelines along the perimeter of the fire and begin mop-up on the secured lines. Direct line construction will be used where possible to minimize acres burned and damage to natural resources.
Throughout Monday, resources from Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District were assisted by firefighters from Parkdale Fire Department, USFS Mt. Hood National Forest, USFS Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Jackpots of slash and increasing afternoon winds challenged firefighters yesterday. Fire behavior included creeping, spotting and single tree torching, according to an ODF press release.
A spot fire was detected Monday afternoon burning in a draw to the east of the main fire. The spot fire was burning in dense vegetation and less accessible terrain, quickly growing in size, stated the press release.
Overnight, firefighters worked to complete line around the original fire perimeter using dozers and existing roads, said the press release. Handline construction started around the larger spotfire, and this work will continue on Tuesday. A Type 3 organization was in-briefed Tuesday morning and will take command of the fire to provide additional support to firefighters and resources, said the press release.
This organization will be used to manage the additional resources which have been ordered for suppression efforts. Overnight two 20 person crews, two five person crews, an engine, a dozer, an excavator and additional overhead staffed the fire. Today, the fire will be staffed by six 20 person crews, five engines, three tenders, two dozers, an excavator and overhead to manage the resources. Aerial resources available to support ground operations today include two fireboss scooper planes, two heavy air tankers, a Type 2 helicopter and a Type 1 helicopter.
Visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com for additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices.