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Gilliam, Wheeler county wildfires top 77,000 acres


(Update: Afternoon update on Gilliam, Wheeler county fires)

Four fires burning in Gilliam and Wheeler counties have grown to total more than 77,500 acres, as crews battle to contain them, authorities said Tuesday.

Here’s the Tuesday afternoon update on the Stubblefield fires and the Jennie’s Peak Fire:

NW Team 7 joined the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal in unified command as of 6:00 am Tuesday morning. NW Team 7 will also assume command of Jennie’s Peak Fire in Wheeler County and will be assigning resources to that fire. The Type 2 team brings welcomed additional resources to support the ongoing efforts of Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal, the local land owners, and agencies who have been engaged and stretched thin since the lightning storm last week.

NW Team 7 will be ordering hand crews, heavy equipment and air resources. Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Blue Team Incident Commander, Ian Yocum stated in the in-briefing meeting, “We are stronger together. Together we will get good work done.”

The Stubblefield, Seale, Lonerock, and Jennie’s Peak fires now total 77,500 acres burned with an average of 27% containment. There are currently 443 total firefighters on the incident. Last night’s community meeting in the town of Lonerock was a success with 17 people in attendance.

Stubblefield: Current acreage for the Stubblefield fire is 21,000 acres and sitting at 50% containment. The weather overnight brought cooler temperatures, and higher humidity, resulting in no significant fire behavior. Priority operations are to secure the line in the Ferry Canyon area and the North flank of the fire.

Seale: Current acreage for the Seale Fire is 15,500 acres and is at 20% containment. No significant fire movement overnight was noted, and crews continued operations to strengthen the line. Priorities for this fire are to prevent eastward movement and to prevent the fire from making a run into the canyons to the south and west. Crews continued fire operations throughout the night to secure the line along Armstrong Rd. A dozer line along Buckhorn Rd has also added to the containment line. Structure protection resources will continue to work in the area to strengthen the lines around houses and outbuildings.

Lonerock: Current acreage of the Lonerock Fire holds at 5,000 acres and has a solid containment line on the Northern and Western flanks of the fire. Crews continue to monitor fire activity and look for ways to improve containment lines on the Eastern/ Southeastern sides. Overall the fire outlook is positive.

Jennie’s Peak: Current acreage for this fire is 36,000 acres and 10% containment. Oregon Department of Forestry crews worked through the night to contain spot fires on the Northeastern flank. Successful firing operations from Shaw Canyon to Cherry Creek along the Southwestern flank, as well as Rhodes Canyon Rd were conducted yesterday and will continue today weather permitting. The fire has not crossed the John Day River. The Sheriff’s Department has begun to notify residents along Pine Creek, but have not issued evacuation orders. The Red Cross has set up an evacuation information center at the Condon High School and is open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Tuesday.

The Central Oregon Fire Management Service said Tuesday in their Twitter feed that the fire has held along the river and the Priest Hole recreation site, along the other side of the river, is now open again. However, they note the fire is not contained, and visitors should drive carefully and watch for fire vehicles in the area.

Meanwhile, the 9,432-acre Tenino Fire that broke out late last week on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation is now 80 percent contained, officials said Tuesday. New crews continue to arrive to assist, on Tuesday from Arizona.

In Lake County, the Watson Creek Fire 13 miles west of Paisley has burned more than 32,000 acres on the Fremont-Winema National Forest and is now 5 percent contained. A community meeting is planned Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Paisley Community Center. More information at:

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