OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- An early morning thunderstorm added five new fires to the Buckhead Complex Saturday, and fire crews are preparing for more lightning-caused blazes with more storms forecasted for the region.
Forest Service officials with the Willamette National Forest would like to remind people that many recreational sites are still open in the area. All campgrounds are open, the air is good, and the water is cool. However they also reminded visitors to exercise caution due to fire traffic in the area, and to check on current fire conditions before taking trips to the forest.
The new fires were located around 18 miles south of Oakridge near Steeple Rock, and are the first additions since the Bobby fire was added Thursday. Fire planes identified the exact locations; three are north of Steeple Rock, one is near Indian Creek and the last is near Packard Creek.
Two of the fires north of Steeple rock have grown to two and seven acres in size. Firefighters will spend Sunday working to contain these two fires. The other three fires were held to under and acre in size.
The region is still under a red flag warning for fire danger. The hot temperatures are drying out the forests and another lightning storm predicted for Saturday night. Firefighters are prepared to take immediate action against any fires that could spring up in the Willamette Natl. Forest from the predicted activity.
Many of the fire crews are still working the larger fires in the Willamette National Forest. The Buckhead, Evangeline and Bobby fire have a total area of 282 acres.
The Buckhead is listed as 40% contained Saturday morning, which is a step backward from previous containment listings. Burning trees had fallen and rolled downhill, passing through containment lines. Firefighters were able to stop the burning snags before they caused more flareups outside lines.
The Evangeline is also burning on steep terrain, but the fire lines have held for the last few days. It is listed at 50% contained Saturday morning and burning in 153 acres of forested land.
The Bobby fire is listed as 50% contained as well, but the relatively small fire (only burning 11 acres of forest) holds a lot of heat in the burned ground. This poses the threat of flareups that could cause a larger fire in the future.
Buckhead Complex Closures:
- Area east of Waldo Lake road is closed.
- Alpine Trail is closed from Tire Mtn. Trail to Westfir Tie Trail.
- North Fork Trail is closed from Office Bridge trail head to its junction with Rd. 1919
- Forest Roads 5828, 1910 and 1925
- Parking is prohibited on Forest Road 19 between Mileposts 3 and 16.