CENTRAL OREGON – Firefighters are responding to two new starts on COFMS protected lands today. The first is the Tepee Fire on the Deschutes National Forest and the second is the Willow Fire that started on Prineville District BLM land north of Madras.
The Tepee Fire near Horse Ridge, approximately 10 miles southeast of Bend is now estimated at 600 acres burning in brush and timber. Five engines were assisted by two dozers and heavy air tankers this afternoon and Deschutes National Forest officials closed Forest Road 18 from the 1820 junction to the 1830 junction for public safety. Strong winds are forecasted to continue through the evening and firefighters will continue working to get around the blaze tonight.
The Willow Fire is estimated at 80 acres and the BLM is in unified command with Jefferson County to manage the fire burning south of Pelton Dam and Willow Canyon, approximately 6 miles northwest of Madras. Heavy air tankers, Single Engine Air Tankers and a heavy helicopter have been assisting firefighters on the ground and the Willow Fire is now 20% contained. Firefighters are working with a task force of structure protection engines to protect homes in the area. There’s a Level 1 evacuation notice for the residents on Elk Drive.
Both fires reported today are human caused starts that are under investigation. As a reminder, Central Oregon public lands are in public use restrictions and campfires are only allowed within designated campgrounds. Central Oregon is still in EXTREME fire danger and fuels are very receptive to ignitions sources. Be diligent with all ignitions sources and know the use restrictions in the areas where you plan to recreate.