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Horse Prairie Fire grows to 750 acres

The Horse Prairie Fire burning near Camas Valley, August 26, 2017. (Courtesy DFPA / Horse Prairie Fire Information)

CAMAS VALLEY, Ore. -- Firefighters from across the region are converging on the Horse Prairie Fire, located 12 miles west of Riddle and eight miles southeast of Camas Valley.

The fire, which started Saturday afternoon, is now estimated at 750 acres and 15 percent contained.

Officials say it's being pushed by northwest winds to the south and east into the steep rugged terrain of the Table Creek drainage.

Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 3 was ordered late Saturday evening and arrived early Sunday morning to assist the Douglas Forest Protective Association and its cooperators.

"With resources at a premium due to the high number of fires burning throughout the Pacific Northwest, the team is working diligently to bring in additional firefighters, aircraft and equipment for the suppression effort," Horse Prairie Fire officials said in a news release.

They say one factor in the fire’s sudden growth was attributed to late detection because of the thick layer of smoke that has blanketed the valley from other fires in the area. Once detected, the fire had already grown to about 40 acres and was moving rapidly through logging debris, timber and felled and bucked logs. DFPA and fire crews from multiple agencies, industrial landowners and logging companies, worked non-stop Saturday night constructing hand and dozer lines in an effort to minimize fire spread.

“Everyone, including DFPA, crews from multiple agencies and private forest landowners and operators, did a heck of a job last night by getting a solid line around much of the fire,” said Incident Commander Link Smith.

Solid containment lines along the north and west sides of the fire are holding. Smith says, however, that the current weather pattern of high temperatures, low humidity and sustained northwest winds continue to challenge suppression efforts in the steep, roadless terrain to the south and east.

“We’re doing all we can to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves to fight this fire aggressively.”

While the conditions prevented air tankers and large type 1 helicopters from flying, six type-2 helicopters with 300-plus gallon water buckets, moved over the fire in rotation, but could not keep up with the rapid spread of the fire.

The fire team will work through the regional multi-agency coordination group, which allocates resources based on each fire’s need in the region, to fill resource needs.

For updates, visit the Horse Prairie Fire Facebook page.

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