(Update: Fire grows to eight acres, more air resources join fight)
CHEMULT, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Prineville Interagency Hotshots joined 10 smokejumpers and an increasing number of air resources Thursday as they fought to contain an eight-acre fire burning in heavy fuel and timber on the Deschutes National Forest’s Crescent Ranger District.
The Tolo Mountain Fire (originally Incident 445), which was reported around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, burning three miles north of the Mount Thielsen Wilderness Area, Central Oregon Fire Management Services said.
“If you’re in the area, please use caution,” the Central Oregon Fire Twitter feed stated.
Active fire behavior was reported Thursday afternoon, along with “group torching” of trees in heavy timber amid an intense heat wave.
Two “heavy” air tankers were dropping retardant on the fire. Other air resources included two single-engine air tankers and a heavy helicopter pulling water from Crescent Lake to drop on the flames..
Forest Service spokeswoman Kassidy Kern said Thursday afternoon the fire was “heading into incredibly receptive fuels,” so a large air attack was launched to “help slow that fire and give the very well qualified folks on the ground an opportunity to establish an anchor point and get a line around it.”
“We are at a high risk for significant wildfire potential now, due to the significant drought and critically low fuel moisture,” she noted.
“We did get this (report) last night and knew we were going to staff it today with a full load of jumpers,” she added. “It’s pretty significant we would have that size-up when it’s only about one acre.”
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