Progress reported at Willowcreek Fire

The following is a news release from Vale Bureau of Land Management:

VALE, Ore. — Crews are preparing for another long night ensuring the Willowcreek Fire stays between Willow Creek and Interstate 84, Vale Bureau of Land Management officials said. 

At 4 p.m. MT today, the fire had grown to 42,128 acres with 45 percent, up from 25 percent at 1 p.m. 

“We did some strategic ignitions between dozer lines and the fire which increased containment,” Vale Deputy Fire Management Officer Jonathan Dunbar said. “The lines to the north are holding and we’ll continue to patrol and monitor tonight.” 

Cooler temperatures and lighter winds today were more favorable for firefighting operations, he added. The fire continues to burn in sagebrush and heavy grass stimulated by the abundant spring rains, which dried out quickly when temperatures began rising. 

Coordination between agencies and partners was very smooth, said Bert Siddoway of Burnt River Rangeland Fire Protection Association. He and several other volunteers were stationed with a water tanker on Moores Hollow Road, watching to ensure the fire didn’t double back into previously unburned fuels. 

Firefighters from Burnt River and Vale Rangeland Fire Protection Associations, Vale Rural Fire Department, Oregon State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service and several contract equipment operators. Aviation support continued this morning, with Air Attack, helitack, Single Engine Air Tankers and one Large Air Tanker. 

About 11:30 this morning, the fire reached the west side of I-84 but did not cross it. A large internal island burned this afternoon, generating highly visible smoke. Fire activity was heaviest to the east and southeast of the fire footprint.  

The fire was reported on private land Tuesday afternoon, then crossed onto lands managed by Vale BLM. The cause is under investigation. No injuries have been reported, no structures are threatened and no evacuations have been ordered.

Photo compliments of Vale BLM