(Update: 3 homes under Level 3 evacuation, more on pre-evacuation notice)
Winds prompt more problems, spot fires
HOOD RIVER, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Firefighters on the Fir Mountain Fire nine miles south of Hood River battled winds and humidity on Monday, similar to what they experienced Sunday. A few homes were evacuated and others were warned to be ready, in case the fire moves closer.
Air resources were again used to slow the spread of the spot fires in areas east of the main fire while crews and equipment were kept busy working to contain any additional spot fires. Winds blowing embers outside the fire line rapidly ignited the dry fuels and challenged firefighters.
Initial mapping work Monday from helicopter platforms and ground truthing identified the perimeter of several of the spot fires on the eastern edge of the fire area.
Fire operations worked with the Wasco County sheriff, who determined the need for a Level 3 Evacuation (GO!) for three residences on Godberson Road. This evacuation notice is not due to fire growth.
Additionally a Level 1 Evacuation (BE READY!) has been issued for other residences on the eastern flank of the fire. The details of the evacuation area are available on the Wasco County Sheriff’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/WascoCountySheriff.
With preliminary mapping of the larger main fire and identification of the numerous spot fires the incident management team estimates the total fire acreage to be 200 acres.
Spot fires between the main fire and Godberson Road range in size from a quarter acre to nearly ten. Sunday night firefighters completed fireline construction with a bulldozer of a ~2 acre spot fire adjacent to Godberson Road, Monday this fire was kept within the fire line.
Resources Monday were successful in minimizing growth of the spot fires using heavy equipment and hand crews in coordination with helicopter bucket drops, water from the fire boss tankers, and large air tanker retardant drops.
Crews also constructed hose lays to disperse water throughout the fire area for mop-up and to extinguish hot spots and fire outside the fire line. The heavy fuel in the fire area is hampering efforts to extinguish the fire, as well as making it difficult to secure the line and mop-up the interior. The fire is estimated to be 5 percent contained Monday evening.
The Oregon Department of Forestry’s The Dalles Unit in-briefed a Type 3 Team from Central Oregon Fire Management Service Sunday evening, providing current situation and suppression objectives.
The fire about nine miles south of Hood River is burning in logging slash (from an old logging operation), timber and younger reproduction.
Sunday night, fire personnel were able to complete a bulldozer line around the main body of the fire and were working Monday to secure the fire line.
Firefighters will work inward from the perimeter to cool any hot spots with water and dirt to reduce the risk of fire spreading outside the fire line. Several of the other spot fires also have bulldozer or hand line around the perimeter or portions of the perimeter.
There are about 200 fire personnel assigned to the Fir Mountain Fire.
The fire was reported late Saturday night and its cause remains under investigation.
For additional information on ODF’s Central Oregon District, including contact information and unit offices, visit www.ODFcentraloregon.com.