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Finley Fire SE of La Pine quickly burns 45 acres before crews encircle it

Finley fire Heather DeMartine 78
Heather DeMartine
Smoke plume from Finley Fire east-SE of La Pine was visible over a wide area on Wednesday afternoon.
Finley fire Deborah McKeever 78
Deborah McKeever
Smoke plume rises from new Finley Fire southeast of La Pine on Wednesday
Fire Incident 378
Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center
Incident 378, a new wildfire Wednesday afternoon SE of La Pine, put up tall plume of smoke

(Update: More details on Finley, other area fires)

La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A wildfire that broke out Wednesday afternoon southeast of La Pine quickly grew to 45 acres before firefighters from numerous agencies in a ground and air battle were able to stop its forward progress.

The Finley Fire was reported around 2:30 p.m. by Round Mountain Lookout, and was located near Finley Butte Road (Forest Road 22), quickly putting up a towering smoke plume visible for miles.

Fire managers dispatched six Forest Service engines, a VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker), two Single-Engine Air Tankers (SEATs), two bulldozers two helicopters and a 20-member crew, with cooperation from the Walker Range Forest Protection Agency.

A "tremendous interagency response" also involving the Oregon Department of Forestry and the La Pine, Bend and Sunriver fire departments held the fire to 45 acres, officials said Wednesday evening

Deschutes County sheriff's deputies assisting on the fire said no structures were threatened, but Reed Road was closed to the east from town. They urged residents to avoid unnecessary travel in the area.

By 6:30 p.m., officials said crews had stopped forward progress on the fire, burning near Finley Butte Road and Darlene Way, with a bulldozer line dug around the fire. Fire crews worked to secure the lines and look for spot fires. Helicopters dropped water to cool hot spots and reduce fire behavior.

It was the largest of three new fires in Central Oregon on Wednesday. Incident 380 was a two-acre fire near Pronghorn Resort and Incident 379 was an abandoned campfire.

Elsewhere, the Alder Creek Fire in Wheeler County has been more accurately mapped at 68 acres.

While there’s no containment being reported as of yet, crews have stopped forward progress and continue to mop up the perimeter. The lightning-caused fire burned on private lands near Prineville District BLM and Oregon Department of State Lands in the Service Creek area.

Meanwhile, the Paulina Lake Fire that broke out Sunday afternoon near U.S. Highway 97 and north of Paulina Lake Road (Forest Road 21) on BLM land near La Pine was 80% contained Wednesday, still at 48 acres.

The public is reminded to be careful with any ignitions on public lands, officials said. Central Oregon is currently in high fire danger, meaning fuels are very receptive to ignitions. If you are recreating on public lands, remember to remain diligent about ensuring all campfires are ‘dead out’ and cold to the touch when you leave them, all spark arrestors are properly installed, and trailer chains are secured.

Article Topic Follows: Fire Alert

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