County Line 2 Fire near Warm Springs now over 36K acres, evacuates subdivision and resort

 

The fire raging near Warm Springs grew overnight, with the last mapping from late Thursday showing the fire stretched over 36,154 acres.

Oregon Incident Management Team #1, headed by Incident Commander Shawn Sheldon, took command over the state’s efforts to combat the fire, now identified as the County Line 2 Fire, Friday morning.

The team said that the approximately 350 firefighters that have been on scene have been focusing on structure protection, and that more resources have been ordered to support these local crews.

A Level Three evacuation was issued in Warm Springs for the Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and associated staff buildings, along with homes in the Wolf Point subdivision, meaning residents in those locations were informed they were in danger and asked to leave.

In a Facebook post, the resort said the evacuation was a "Prudent Step" for the business, and that they, "just want everybody to be safe."

So far, around 100 people have been forced to evacuate their homes, with many seeking shelter at a Red Cross center in Warm Springs, which itself had to be relocated to the Jefferson County Fairplex in Madras Friday night.

Fire officials said the biggest challenge facing them Friday would be winds expected to reach 30 miles per hour, which could quickly push the fires into new areas. The wind, combined with the light, grassy fuel around the fire and the amount of the fire in remote terrain, increases the potential for rapid fire growth while hampering firefighter efforts.

By late Friday afternoon, the fire was only five percent contained.

The fire began Wednesday when a trailer lost a tire on Highway 26, sparking several small fires that eventually grew into one.

While the fire has made it to the Lower Deschutes River between Warm Springs and Mecca Flat, fire officials said it had not jumped the river. The Bureau of Land Management, which oversees recreational access to the river, still has the river open as of Friday morning and noted there were no campground closures.

The BLM also noted that people on the river should watch for helicopters using the river as a dip site for firefighting efforts.

Highway 26 remained closed on the Warm Springs Reservation. Westbound drivers should take Highway 97 from Madras to Highway 197 north through Maupin, then to Highway 216 and then west back to Highway 26. Eastbound drivers should take Highway 216 to Highway 197, through Maupin to Highway 97 and then back onto Highway 26 in Madras.

RELATED:MAP: Major wildfires in Oregon and Washington

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