Oregon Wildfire Burns Over 43,000 Acres, With Crews Working To Contain

by Lauren Boisvert

Oregon’s Double Creek wildfire began from a lightning strike on August 30 and has now burned a total of 43,668 acres since then. The fire is located in northeast Oregon, in Wallowa County. Currently, 11 fires burn in Oregon, including the Rum Creek Fire, which burned almost 20,000 acres in the southwest and sits at 34% containment.

The Double Creek Fire is sweeping through the Wallowa National Forest, 10 miles southeast of the Imnaha community. The area is under immediate evacuation orders, including a Level 3 “go now” order at Hat Point and Freezeout Roads.

While winds were lower on Sunday and there was significantly less fire activity, crews are still struggling to contain this raging wildfire. According to InciWeb, resources are arriving from the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal. Oregon has assigned 401 personnel to battle Double Creek. But it currently sits at zero percent containment as of September 5. The estimated containment date is October 31.

Governor Kate Brown invoked a state of emergency in response, which will allow firefighters and crews from surrounding areas and even other states to aid in containment. Gov. Brown said in a statement, “With many fires actively burning across the state and several weeks of peak fire season ahead of us, I am urging all Oregonians to be prepared.”

In addition to the Double Creek wildfire, crews are also battling two nearby fires in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. The Sturgill fire has burned just over 12,000 acres, while Nebo has reached over 7,200 acres.

Meanwhile, in California, Siskiyou County Can’t Catch a Break from Wildfires

Recently, Cal Fire reported that another wildfire has broken out in Siskiyou County. The Mill fire started on September 2 near the city of Weed. Currently, 14 structures were damaged and 106 were destroyed. Additionally, 3 injuries, and 2 fatalities were caused by the Mill fire. As of September 5, it has burned 4,263 acres and is 40% contained.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue announced the fatalities at a community meeting on Sunday. He did not reveal the identities of the deceased or any other information. Just as Siskiyou County seems to have gained a handle on the devastating McKinney fire, which burned a total of 60,138 acres near the Klamath National Forest, there are yet more wildfires to contend with.

Fire crews are battling not only the Mill fire, but also the Mountain fire near the town of Gazelle. The Mountain fire also started on September 2, and has grown to 10,338 acres, according to Cal Fire reports. It is 10% contained as of September 5. The areas of the Mill and Mountain fires are critically dry. This fuels the blazes in addition to high winds and heat.