Oregon: Bridge Creek Fire Use fire burns onto private land

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Update, 3:20 P.M., August 18
The fire, plume dominated, was very active on Sunday. One recent report, supposedly accurate as of Sunday night, pegged the size at 2,966 acres. The acreage is difficult to track because some reports include the other fires in the Ochoco Complex in the total.

The fire burned over a mile outside the National Forest in the White Butte area 4.7 miles southwest of Mitchell, Oregon. The fire has been less active on Monday due to milder weather and cloud cover.

8:27 A.M., August 18
The Bridge Creek fire is a fire use fire that started on the Ochoco National Forest in central Oregon, 10 miles southwest of Dayville. For several days it didn’t do much, burning about 1/2 acre. But between 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday morning it grew from 2.5 acres to over 5,000 acres. Saturday night’s southeast winds together with low RHs and an unstable atmosphere (Haines 6) drove the fire outside the Maximum Manageable Area boundary and onto private land.

The Central Oregon incident management team assumed command of the fire at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Here is a portion of a news release about the fire from August 15:

The Northwest Fire Use Management Team is managing four small fires in three wildernesses on the Ochoco National Forest northeast and east of Prineville, Oregon. These fires are one acre to about 75 acres in size and are burning in three wildernesses: Mill Creek, Bridge Creek and Black Canyon.

These lightning fires provide the opportunity to use Wildland Fire Use to achieve resource management objectives, including allow fire to play its natural role in these ecosystems, where private property and social values can be protected.

The Northwest Fire Use Management Team specializes in management of Wildland Fire Use. While this is only the 3rd year for the team, individual members have decades of fire experience in eastern Oregon. The team is led by Matt Reidy and has members from throughout the Pacific Northwest. Presently the team has 35 people working on the four fires on the Ochoco National Forest. This includes a specially trained 10-member “Fire Use Module” that actively monitors the fires in the forests and takes management action when needed to meet objectives.

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