REDMOND, ORE.—Firefighters from the Central Oregon Fire Management Service responded to a fire today in the Juniper Canyon area of Crook County. The Cowboy Fire is located nine miles southeast of Prineville. Initially pushed by wind through grass and brush, the fire grew rapidly before fire resources arrived on scene. Aggressive use of aircraft, including single engine air tankers, large air tankers and a Type 2 helicopter moderated fire behavior, allowing firefighters to establish fire lines and stop spread of the fire late this evening. The fire is currently estimated to be 70 acres.
A dozer line is in place around a significant portion of the perimeter with the remaining area lined with retardant. Firefighters will widen this control line to secure the fire and ensure that it does not move outside the existing fire footprint. Working from this line they will use water to cool areas of heat and knock down flames. Overnight firefighters will continue mop-up, patrol and strengthening the fireline. Saturday morning mop-up work will continue under a Type 3 organization.
Resources on the fire included numerous wildland fire engines, structural fire engines, water tenders, rapellers, hand crews and dozers. Law enforcement personnel facilitated the evacuation of residences near the fire area.
The Crook County Sheriff is reducing evacuation levels near the fire area to a level 1 at 9:00 p.m. Friday night, September 2nd. Saturday morning these evacuation levels will be re-evaluated based on progress of fire containment lines, fire behavior and risk to public safety.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Black Butte and Tower Point lookouts were the first to report the fire.
A red flag warning remains in effect across central Oregon until 5:00 a.m. Saturday. Smoke from nearby wildfires will continue to be present throughout much of the Labor Day Weekend. For current fire information and public use restrictions please visit www.centraloregonfire.org.