Good Progress Being Made to Secure Firelines on Boxcar and Jack Knife Fires
Firefighters, with assistance from Rural Fire Protection Association (RFPA), local ranchers, and aerial resources, completed several burnout operations yesterday, halting fire spread in several areas.
The Boxcar Fire is estimated to be 87,000 acres, including the previously referenced “South Junction Fire” that has merged into it. A burnout operation was completed along Bakeoven Road and fire line was constructed on the southeast edge of Maupin using bulldozers. Air tankers laid down retardant and helicopters dropped water on hot spots to help secure these lines. Fire backed down to the Deschutes River access road on the western flank of the fire, crossing the road and burning into the Harpham Flat campground and day use area. There was no infrastructure damage to Harpham, although visitors should use caution and avoid burned areas as there could be hot ashes left by burned stumps or rocks. Firefighters were able to halt fire spread to the south by burning along the South Junction Road from Shaniko Junction to South Junction Campground on the Deschutes River. They were also able to use Highway 197 as a containment line from Shaniko Junction to Criterion, keeping the fire west of the highway as the South Junction Fire joined the Boxcar. The RFPA continues working to stop progression of the fire to the east, preserving important grazing resources.
Firefighters on the Jack Knife Fire, approximately 10,000 acres, 11 miles southeast of Grass Valley, were able to stop eastward progress of the fire at the John Day River. They have constructed and are improving containment lines at Wilson Point on the north edge of the Fire and Adobe Point on the south. The Fire’s western edge is bounded by disked agricultural fields.
Today’s weather will be hot and dry with temperatures in the mid-90s and relative humidity below 20%. Although tomorrow’s weather is forecast to be much cooler (70’s), the weather change will arrive with strong 20-25 mph North-Northeast winds blowing from about 10 pm and through the night.
• The Deschutes River remains open for boating and recreation. Camping is discouraged between Trout Creek and Maupin including the following camping and day use sites: Harpham Flat, Long Bend, Wapinitia and Devil’s Canyon. Boat ramps are still open for launching and takeout, but vehicles should not be parked at the launch sites and a shuttle service should be utilized.
• On the John Day River, river miles 68 through 55 are closed to camping.
• Level 1 evacuation is in place for the area bounded by Hwy 97, Hwy 216, the Deschutes River, and the South Junction Road. Residents are encouraged to be aware of the threat in their area and prepare for evacuation should conditions change.