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27-acre fire north of Prineville 40 percent contained


(Update:Monday update; fire burns about 27 acres, 40 percent contained, fully lined))

A strong air and ground attack quickly got a line around a new wildfire Sunday that burned 27 acres near Allen Creek, about 10 miles north of Prineville, and prompted a precautionary Level 1 (Get Ready) pre-evacuation notice for a half-dozen homes along Lofton Creek Road, officials said.

Here’s the early Monday afternoon update on the Allen Springs Fire:

Firefighters responded to a new incident located approximately 10 miles north of Prineville, near Allen Creek Road. The fire, burning in grass and brush, was reported at 11:23 a.m. on Sunday. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

Local resources responded with initial attack that included four Oregon Department of Forestry engines, two U.S. Forest Service engines, four hand crews, four dozers, three water tenders, two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs), three heavy air tanker, and four helicopters. Crook County Fire and Rescue assisted, providing multiple engines and a water tender, along with the Crook County Sheriff who provided additional overhead resources. The landowner provided two skidgines and one dozer.

Aggressive initial attack held the fire at approximately 27 acres. The dozers and skidgines were able to tie in the fire line, and hose was laid allowing crews to begin mop up by 7 p.m.

Overnight, three 5-person crews, one engine, two water tenders, and one 20-person crew continued working on the fire. Crews will continue mopping up today with Type 4 Incident Commander Jones, one other overhead person, two tenders, three crews and two engines.

The fire is currently 100 percent lined and at 40 percent containment.

During the initial attack, as a precautionary measure, Level 1 (Get Set) evacuation notices were issued by the Crook County Sheriff’s office for the Lofton Creek area, which included approximately half a dozen residences. It was lifted at 6 p.m. Sunday.

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Earlier story info:

The fire was spotted by the public and called in shortly before 11:30 a.m., Forest Service spokeswoman Kassidy Kern said. The Oregon Department of Forestry and Crook County Fire were in unified command of the firefighting effort.

There were eight engine crews on scene, as well as four water-dropping helicopters, three retardant-dropping air tankers, two single-engine air tankers (SEAT planes). a bulldozer and two skidgines (a cross between a bulldozer and a fire engine).

Kern later said the dozer and skidgines had a line around the blaze that firefighters would be working to secure. She said the proximity to the Redmond air tanker base was also helpful in getting a handle on the blaze.

The Crook County Sheriff’s Office issued the Level 1 evacuation notice for residents along Lofton Creek Road as a precautionary step due to the nearby fire. County spokeswoman Vicky Ryan said sheriff’s deputies were limiting traffic along the road to local traffic and advising residents as they entered or left the area, with Search and Rescue on standby, in case they need to go door to door.

The new fire broke out as smoky haze from southwest Oregon wildfires returned to much of the High Desert and is expected to linger in coming days, as temperatures warm back to the century mark or higher.

While crews elsewhere are chasing smoke reports after more than 100 lightning strikes hit the region in thunderstorms Saturday evening, the cause of the Allen Springs Fire is not known at this time, Kern said.

Kern said initial attack crews were unable to find many of the other smoke reports, likely caused by the generally smoky, hazy skies.

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