Crews battle two new wildfires in Central Oregon
BEND, Ore. – Firefighters worked overnight batting two large wildfires burning in Central Oregon.
The Tepee Fire is burning on the Deschutes National Forest and the Willow Fire is burning on the Prineville District BLM.
Officials say the Tepee Fire was fueled by strong winds and grew to 1,562 acres Friday night. Once the weather conditions improved Saturday morning, bulldozers dug fire line around 60 percent of the fire, mostly on the western flank.
The uncontained part of the fire continues to push to the east. The fire is burning in brush and timber and crews will begin mopping up the containment lines on the west side of Forest Road 18 Saturday and will continue working on expanding the containment line.
Forest Road 18 remains closed from the 1820 junction to the 1830 junction for public safety.
Officials estimate the Willow Fire is estimated to be 80 acres and is 20 percent contained. The BLM is working with Jefferson County to manage the fire, which is burning about 6 miles northwest of Madras.
Heavy air tankers, single-engine air tankers and a heavy helicopter have been helping firefighters on the ground.
Firefighters are working with a task force of structure protection engines to protect homes in the area. There’s a Level 1 evacuation notice for residents on Elk Drive.
Officials say both fires are human-caused and are under investigation.
Central Oregon public lands are in public use restrictions and campfires are only allowed within designated campgrounds.
Central Oregon is still in extreme fire danger.