The Graham Fire was reported Thursday afternoon, burning in brush, timber, and grass south of the Metolius River arm of Lake Billy Chinook near Culver, Oregon. The fire has burned private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry and Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue, as well as Bureau of Land Management ownership. Aerial resources, including Single Engine Air Tankers and heavy air tankers, assisted on-the-ground firefighters to slow the spread of the fire. A Central Oregon Fire Management Service (COFMS) local Type 3 Team, Incident Commander Caldwell, assumed command of the fire at 11:00 p.m. Thursday night. The fire is estimated to be approximately 2,000 acres at this time. Numerous lightning-caused fires in Central Oregon, including three large fires, spread firefighting resources thin today challenging firefighters in their suppression efforts.
Residents of the Three Rivers subdivision were under a level three (GO!) evacuation throughout most of the evening as extreme fire conditions and erratic winds quickly pushed the fire northeast threatening homes. Reduced fire behavior has allowed Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins to reduce evacuation levels in some areas and allow residents to return to their homes. Residents and the public are reminded not to cross roadblocks into evacuation areas. Two local Central Oregon structural task forces worked to protect homes in the fire area assisting Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue. Three additional structural task forces from Washington and Clackamas counties arrived on the fire this evening to continue work around the threatened homes. Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Green Team, Incident Commander Hallman assumed command of the structural firefighting activities at midnight. Some structures may have been damaged by the fire, but due to safety concerns firefighters have not been able to investigate all areas of the fire.
The COFMS Type 3 Team will manage the fire overnight, working to take advantage of cooler temperatures and increased moisture which will limit fire behavior. Firefighters will flank the edge of the fire, building fireline to contain the potential spread. Warm temperatures are anticipated in the next few days along with the return of windy conditions which will continue to push firefighters working on the fire. Additional resources are arriving to work the day shift Friday, including dozers, hand crews, helicopters, and fire engines.
Updated information for the Graham Fire is available on InciWeb-https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5855/