Fire in central Oregon burns to almost 4000 acres

The Darlene 3 Fire just east of La Pine in central Oregon has been burning aggressively; by Thursday morning it had grown to 3,889 acres — up from 2,415 acres the day before.

Smoke over La Pine in central Oregon. Photo by Deschutes County Sheriff's office.
Smoke over La Pine homes in central Oregon. Photo by Deschutes County Sheriff’s office.

The fire is about 30 percent contained. KTVZ-TV reported that the cause remains under investigation.

The fire was human-caused — and federal, state, and county law enforcement agencies are involved in that investigation. Crews worked hard on initial attack Tuesday, building line off Reed Road to protect assets to the north.

Darlene 3 Fire -- photo by C.O. Fire Management Service
Darlene 3 Fire — photo by Central Oregon Fire Management Service

The Central Oregon Type 3 IMT is in unified command with the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) Red Team, in part because of the large number of threatened homes at the edge of town. Winds and high temperatures on Wednesday allowed the Darlene 3 Fire to create spotfires beyond the firelines, and it then burned east onto the Deschutes National Forest, where it merged into a couple of fuels-treatment burns previously created by the BLM and the USFS. Crews noted that those burns moderated fire behavior on this incident.

Darlene 3 Fire

On Wednesday night, crews finished containment lines and firing operations. As long as the temps and winds remain moderate, crews and dozers and engines will work on reinforcing firelines; 335 personnel are assigned, including 38 engines, 5 hand crews, 8 watertenders, and numerous dozers and aircraft.

Six task forces of structural firefighters are protecting homes and other buildings and working mop-up around homes and town infrastructure.

Deschutes County evacuation info is online at — and the Red Cross has  set up a shelter at La Pine High School (51633 Coach Road). The La Pine Activity Center (16450 Victory Way) is open for RVs to park and also has meals and N95 masks available. Rebecca Marshall with the Red Cross said they do not at this time need donations.

Air quality information can be found at or — and residents can add the OregonAir app on their smartphones.

1-2-3 ... Ready, Set, Go!

The fire took off Tuesday afternoon and then grew rapidly, just a mile or so outside of the town of La Pine. A level 3 evacuation order — remember Level 1-2-3  =  Ready-Set-Go — is in effect on the east side of La Pine. There’s an evacuation map here.

Zach Urness with the Salem Statesman Journal reported that a Type 3 IMT  took over on Wednesday morning; on Tuesday, Gov. Tina Kotek invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act. “This allows us to send the full power of the Oregon fire services to protect life and property,” said Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. There are six task forces of structural firefighters defending local buildings that are threatened on the east edge of town. The fire is threatening nearly 1200 structures, according to Deschutes County Sheriff Sergeant Nathan Garibay