Fire managers reported almost no new growth on the Cedar Creek Fire in the past 24 hours as of Wednesday morning. Despite that, a closure area in the Deschutes National Forest has been expanded.
They listed the size at 92,595 acres — an increase of 47 acres from the day before. The lightning-caused fire that started on Aug. 1 remains 0% contained.
The news comes as temperatures continue to cool and firefighters are anticipating weekend rain may help them make progress in their fight.
Expanded Deschutes National Forest closures
The Deschutes National Forest on Tuesday announced it has expanded its forest closure area to create more efficient firefighting operations due to growth on the southern tip of Waldo Lake and near Cultus Lake.
DNF said the “expanded closure includes eastern portions of the Three Sisters Wilderness, up to the Cascade Lakes Highway’s western edge starting south of Hosmer Lake and continuing through the current closure on the Cascades Lake Highway just south Twin Lakes, Davis Lake, and Wickiup Reservoir.
“With the moderation in weather, resources can actively assess and prep road systems and control features before another period of active fire growth due to weather conditions. Efficiency in operations is a key factor for us to consider right now,” said Robert Newey, Fire Management Officer for the Bend-Ft Rock Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest.
People are encouraged to visit the Deschutes National Forest’s website to see the closure map.
Here is the Wednesday morning report from InciWeb
Current Situation: The Lane County Sheriff’s Office, in consultation with the fire team, reduced the evacuation to Level 1 (Be Ready) for the City of Westfir and Oakridge between Laurel Butte and the Middle Fork Willamette River west of Fish Hatchery Road. Other areas that were reduced to Level 2 (Be Set) on Monday, remain at Level 2, including: High Prairie area, Hills Creek Reservoir area, and Oakridge north of Laurel Butte Road and east of Fish Hatchery Road. The Deschutes National Forest issued an expanded closure Tuesday to include areas of the forest where fire crews are working. Crews are operating heavy equipment along the Cascade Lakes Highway corridor and along forest roads. Residents are asked to be aware of increased fire-related traffic, drive safely, and obey all road closures and traffic safety laws.
The fire remains active, burning with low to moderate intensity. Although fire behavior has calmed considerably since last weekend, fuels are still dry and combustible. Smoke will continue to linger through the week, impacting air quality. Smoke is primarily impacting communities on the east side of the fire, particularly La Pine, Crescent Lake, Sun River, and Bend.
East Zone Operations: Junction camp was established Tuesday near the intersection of Oregon State Routes 429 and 58. This camp positions 210 firefighters closer to their work in the Odell Lake area. Two Type 2 crews and hot shots are assessing and protecting structures around Odell Lake, including Golden Lake Campground, Willamette Pass, and the Diamond Peak area. Protection measures include clearing brush from around structures and laying hose and sprinklers.
Road prep was started and will continue over the next few days on Forest Road 5897 from State Route 58 to Fuji Mountain Trail. Hand crews are also working to join Forest Roads 4660 and 4668. Hand crews have also been working Forest Road 700 near Brown Mountain, south of Crane Prairie Reservoir. Heavy equipment continues along the Cascade Lakes Highway, creating a 100-foot fire break on the west side of the road. To the north, structure protection continues around Lava Lake.
West Zone Operations: The west zone continues to focus on the protecting the communities of Oakridge and Westfir and the Highway 58 corridor. Crews took advantage of fire behavior that was moderated by higher humidity throughout the day. Firefighters continued improving Forest Road 19 as well as other road systems to use as containment lines. To the west of the fire, firefighters identified ridgetops where they will conduct firing operations to bring the fire toward containment lines. These firing operations will reduce vegetation between the front of the fire and the fireline, thereby moderating burn intensity and improving the effectiveness of the containment lines. In addition, crews conducted strategic firing operations near Eagle Butte. On the southern edge, the fire continued to back down slopes from Bunchgrass Ridge toward the rail line. A hotshot crew connected handline along the southern boundary west of Fuji Mountain and implemented firing operations along that fireline to reduce ground vegetation in advance of the main fire. Structural crews continued to perform tactical patrols near Odell Lake; Wednesday they will support burn operations near Highway 58 to remove fuels between the fire’s edge and the highway. Low visibility limited the ability to use helicopters and airplanes for most of the day. Structural firefighters continued their work in the High Prairie area. The night shift worked to support burn operations when conditions were favorable, and Wednesday’s shift will focus on supporting mop up work and performing tactical patrols.
Today, crews supported by heavy equipment will keep thinning and chipping vegetation to improve roads for use as containment lines. Work along the roads includes removing snags that may pose a threat to firefighters. As conditions allow, firefighters will use aerial and hand ignition to improve effectiveness of containment lines. Firefighters are reducing vegetation and improving roads between containment lines and the active fire to be used as a way to slow the fire and reduce intensity as it approaches the control features.
Weather/Fire Behavior: Weather conditions are expected to stay moderate with light west winds and cooler seasonal temperatures in the 60s. Fuel moisture levels are at a point where grasses are not easily carrying fire but larger sticks and limbs that are about wrist sized are actively burning. The southern edge of the fire is expected to continue backing down toward containment lines and may reach the Eagle Creek area in the next day or two. Some torching and spotting are expected, but most activity should be creeping and smoldering.
Evacuations: An updated map of the evacuation areas is available at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/CedarCreek. It is possible that conditions may require moving back to a Level 2 (Be Set) or a Level 3 (GO NOW) evacuation notice in some or all of these areas, depending on fire activity. Sign-up for emergency mobile alerts by going to oralert.gov. Please check with Lane County Sheriff’s Office at 541-682-4150 and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office at 541-693-6911 for updates and changes. Go to https://bit.ly/3D51kvC to view a map. Lane County people can use the Lane County Sheriff’s Office Flash Alert site for information to support claims for reimbursement for lodging https://flashalert.net/id/LaneSheriff.
Closures: The Deschutes National Forest expanded the temporary emergency closure area to protect the public and firefighters. The Deschutes National Forest and Willamette National Forest both have closures in effect. Please visit Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest for the most recent closure orders and map. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place. The use of drones is prohibited in the fire area, please make it safe for our firefighters to use aircraft on the fire. Pacific Crest Trail hikers should visit pcta.org for current information.