Skip to Content

South Valley Fire growth slowed, 20 percent contained


Despite a wind shift that sent the fire jumping containment lines on the west side overnight, nearly 500 firefighters have brought the 20,000-acre South Valley Fire southwest of Dufur to 20 percent containment, officials said Friday.

The fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon was estimated Friday morning at “20,000-plus acres,” about the same as Thursday’s figure, and officials said should be fully contained by next Thursday, if all goes well. The fire has destroyed one structure and damaged an unknown number of others, with more than 500 residents still under level 2 (get set) or 3 (go now) evacuation orders.

Here’s the full Friday morning update:

Firefighters overnight made good containment progress on the fire, despite gusty and battling winds that remained strong through most of the night. Northwesterly winds were dominant until early this morning, when unexpected easterly winds pushed the fire out of the heavily fuel loaded Larch and Pine Creek drainages on the west side of the fire. The fire jumped containment lines and established in lighter fuels, causing some fast runs. Fire crews, with support of farmers, were able to contain the fire utilizing the Heberlein and Winslow road systems along with dozers. All other sections of the fire are reported to look favorable going into today.

“Hold and check” is the mission given to firefighters today, as winds are expected to be similar to yesterday. Crews will continue reinforcing the lines by extinguishing hot spots close to the line with an emphasis on the areas that burned last night and the areas that will be most impacted by the winds. Structure protection task forces will continue to work around the homes, assessing for damage and loss, as well as mopping up.

The weather today is supposed to be slightly lower in temperature and higher humidity than yesterday, but forecasted winds can easily overcome that slight reprieve. Winds are the most influential weather factor determining fire behavior, especially in the lighter fuels that are dominant on this fire. The trend over the next few days is to return to hot and dry. Fuels are being recorded in record lows for moisture content, making them very flammable. Firefighters can expect spotting up to 1/4 mile to occur ahead of the fire from burning oak leaves and flame lengths in the grass/wheat fields of up to 10-15 ft with rapid rates of spread.

A community meeting will be held at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center at 6:00 p.m. tonight, located at 402 E. Scenic Dr. in The Dalles, OR. Fire managers and other local emergency services personnel will be available for a fire update and to answer any related questions.

Evacuations and Structures:

Wasco County Sheriff has implemented Level 3 evacuation orders. For details on evacuation orders visit the Wasco County Sheriff’s Facebook page. The Bureau of Land Management will continue to keep Segment 3 of the Deschutes River corridor from Sandy Beach to Mack’s Canyon open unless conditions change for the worse.

Currently there are no road closures in effect.

There are 172 homes threatened by the fire with 516 people under a Level 3 evacuation. The Red Cross is available to provide shelter support to those displaced. Contact them at 1- 888-680-1455.

The State Fire Marshal has stated that at least one structure has been lost. State Fire Marshal personnel are in the field determining the extent of the fire’s impact to structures.

Chris Cline, Incident Commander, Oregon Department of Forestry IMT 2

Les Hallman, Incident Commander, Oregon State Fire Marshal Green

For more information:

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ News Team


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content