Firefighting efforts being coordinated to safely accomplish control and minimize acres burned
Hundreds of lightning strikes on June 20 and 21 caused nearly 70 wildfires throughout central Oregon. The Boxcar and South Junction Fires are in Wasco County near Maupin. The Jack Knife Fire is in Sherman County, along the John Day River northeast of Kent. Initial attack resources from the Central Oregon Fire Management Service, the Rural Fire Protection District, Maupin Fire Department, Mt. Hood National Forest, The Dalles Fire Department, and local ranchers have been fighting these fires since their detection. Strategic use of retardant and heavy helicopters has protected values at risk. As the fires have grown to large sizes and complexity, a Type 2 Incident Management Team (Northwest Incident Management Team #13) has taken over command of these fires as of 6:00 a.m. today.
Boxcar Fire Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5862/
Estimated Acreage: 23,000 acres Containment: 10% Reported June 21, 07:48 am, lightning
The Boxcar Fire is the largest of the three incidents with an estimated 23,000 acres burned. Firefighters have been challenged by gusty winds which have pushed the grass and brush fire south and east. Hwy 197 is closed between milepost 67 (the intersection with Hwy 97) and Maupin.
- In the Maupin area, firefighters will be anchoring south of Maupin to build and secure containment lines to the north and east.
- On the western flank, the fire is approaching the Deschutes River south of Maupin. Firefighters will be looking for places to safely engage to protect river recreation, private properties and cultural sites.
- Firefighters engaging the Boxcar Fire on the east flank will work to stop easterly progression by using Highway 97 as containment line.
South Junction Fire
Estimated Acreage: 5,000 acres Containment: 0% Reported June 21, 3:00 pm, lightning
- This fire has made significant runs to the north and south from its origin west of Hwy 197 approximately 18 miles north of Madras.
- It will likely join the Boxcar Fire today and, after that happens, both will be referred to as the “Boxcar Fire”.
- Firefighters are coordinating with local ranch resources on containment lines.
Jack Knife Fire Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5864/
Estimated Acreage: 2,000 acres Containment: 0% Reported June 22, 8:11 am, Lightning
This fire is burning 5 miles northeast of Kent and 11 miles southeast of Grass Valley.
- The Jack Knife Fire has reached the John Day River in several locations. Fire has spread north to Wilson Point and south to Adobe point.
- Approximately 10 ranches and outbuildings are scattered along the fire perimeter. Structure protection measures are in place for ranch homes and historical structures along the river.
- Fire officials will scout opportunities for containment on this fire today.
- Hwy 197 is closed from south of Maupin from the town of Maupin to milepost 67, the junction with Hwy 97.
- People can still use the Deschutes River for boating and recreation. Camping is being discouraged between Trout Creek and Maupin. This involves Harpham Flat, Longbend, Wapinita and Devil’s Camp. Boat ramps are still open for launching and takeout, but vehicles cannot be parked at the launch sites and a shuttle service should be utilized.
- Periodically the River may be closed by local Rangers in order to facilitate helicopter water dips.
- On the John Day River, river miles 68 through 55 are closed to camping.