July 20, 2018 – Although gusty winds and uphill fire runs fanned the Substation Fire to 70,421 acres, crews made progress on Thursday, reaching 15% containment by the end of the day. Hand crews, air resources and heavy equipment continued working to mitigate the fire’s spread and reinforce containment lines, while engines and structural firefighters implemented point protection tactics to protect structures.
Crews will continue to focus on minimizing risk to the community and protecting agricultural resources. Some crews will shift from firefighting to evaluation and assessment of fire damage to structures. It is anticipated that the total numbers of structure damage and loss will increase due to these efforts.
“Feet and engines are on the ground, at the perimeter and to reach hot spots,” said Alex Haven, operations deputy chief for the Substation Fire. Winds have died down somewhat but hot, dry conditions, and low humidity are still contributing factors to the fire, he said, noting that the fire continues to be an evolving incident.
Friday morning, the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office reduced evacuation levels in Moro, Grass Valley and Kent to Level 2 (“Be Set”). Areas west of these communities continue to be at Level 3 (“Go”). Incident Command is working the local sheriff’s offices and are looking for every opportunity to further reduce evacuations as well as restore recreational opportunities in the area. Residents and persons planning to travel to the area should check for latest information regarding possible road closures (TripCheck.com) and other areas, including Deschutes River access.
With the addition of the Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team, which arrived Thursday afternoon, resources have increased to nearly 300 people.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in effect for the airspace above the fire. This includes a prohibition on personal drones or radio-controlled aircraft that can interfere with firefighting operations.
To keep abreast of updated information, teams on the Substation Fire are conducting live morning briefings on Facebook (facebook.com/substationfire2018).
The Substation Fire command post and fire crews extend a heartfelt thanks to community members and local agencies who have been so supportive and for working side-by-side with fire crews.