The Cedar Creek Fire, which has now forced Level 3 “Go Now” evacuations in Deschutes County, has been burning for more than five weeks. What some people may want to know is, could have this fire been fought more aggressively such as last month’s Miller Road Fire near Maupin?
The lightning-caused fire started on August 1 and has grown to more than 18,000 acres as of Wednesday.
The fire coordinator tells us that an earlier, aggressive attack was not necessarily possible. Firefighter safety was a big concern.
“You well know the terrain, large fuel types, large tree stands, very steep topography,” said Cedar Creek Coordinator Bud Sexton. “And so there becomes a question of can you get people in there safely, and at the same time, can you get them out safely if conditions change and you need to either evacuate them quickly. Or, if somebody gets injured can you be able to get them out?”
Back on August 4, the Willamette National Forest reported that helicopter rappellers were sent to the area but they turned down the assignment, saying the terrain was too hazardous for safe access.
Sexton says that terrain continues to be a challenge for crews.