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Jun-08-2014 13:39printcomments

Firefighters Battling Heat, Strong Winds as Oregon Wildfire Continues to Grow

Increasing temperatures and afternoon winds are expected to challenge firefighters and potentially cause an escalation in fire behavior.

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(BEND, Ore. ) - More than 300 firefighters worked overnight on the Two Bulls Wildfire burning west of Bend.

Active fire continued throughout the night, prompting an additional evacuation of the Johnson Ridge subdivision.

Approximately 250 homes have now been evacuated. The Red Cross has established a shelter at High Desert Middle School in Bend (this is a new location).

Approximately 2,000 additional homes are in an area considered threatened.

Deschutes County Sheriff Department has notified residents in areas south of Shevlin Park Road, west of Mt. Washington Drive and north of Century Drive to be prepared to evacuate if the fire continues to grow in their direction.

Suppression efforts will focus on structural protection in these areas, establishing containment lines, and keeping the fire from moving south and east. Additional suppression efforts will focus on the west flank of the fire, located closest to the City of Bend watershed.

Heavy smoke prevented aerial resources from getting an accurate view of the fire yesterday, and an overnight infrared flight provided a better estimate of size.

The fire is now 6,180 acres and remains uncontained with no estimate of containment at this time.

The two fires were reported by Black Butte Lookout at 12:48 yesterday afternoon. The fires are burning in a mix of Deschutes National Forest and private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Although the fires haven’t burned completely together, they are being managed as one incident, the Two Bulls Wildfire.

The fires are staffed with 12 20-person handcrews, including the several Hotshot crews, 13 engines, 2 air tankers, 2 helicopters, 7 dozers, and several watertenders, along with miscellaneous additional overhead personnel.

The fire is burning in a mix of ponderosa pine, brush and grass. Increasing temperatures and afternoon winds are expected to challenge firefighters and potentially cause an escalation in fire behavior.

Information in this story was provided by the Oregon Department of Forestry

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