June 11, 2014 in City

Evacuation ends as crews get upper hand on Oregon wildfire

Associated Press
 

BEND, Ore. – Fire officials in central Oregon said an evacuation order was lifted for about 50 scattered rural homes as crews mop up a wildfire near Bend that has burned nearly 11 square miles.

By Tuesday night, officials said the Two Bulls Fire was 40 percent contained and fire lines were holding despite strong afternoon winds.

No structures had been lost.

Investigators said the fire that started at two locations Saturday was human-caused and a reward for information leading to a conviction has grown to $4,500.

So far, the firefighting effort has cost $3 million.

Firefighters had to scramble Tuesday afternoon to extinguish another wildfire on the outskirts of Bend.

A lookout on Lava Butte spotted the smoke about 4 miles from the southern flank of the Two Bulls Fire, said Lisa Clark, a spokeswoman for the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center. Helicopter and engine crews quickly put it out.

Investigators already trying to track down the people responsible for the Two Bulls fire will also be investigating the new blaze, Clark said.

The latest fire was near the trailhead of a popular mountain-biking area known as Phil’s Trails.

Earlier Tuesday, fire crews had dug a containment line all the way around the Two Bulls fire, and were mopping up hotspots and laying hose lines to prevent it from escaping in case winds got stronger, Clark said.

Smoke was clearing, and the fire was 25 percent contained at 10.6 square miles of mostly private timberland on the eastern outskirts of Bend.

Fire investigators said the blaze was started by people at two locations on private timberland near Tumalo Reservoir. Cascade Timberlands has offered a $2,000 reward for information on how the fire started Saturday afternoon.

With no other major wildfires burning in the Northwest, fire bosses were able to get all the personnel and equipment they needed, Clark said. That included 1,018 personnel, 11 bulldozers, 77 engines and six helicopters.

About 200 homes remained under alerts to be ready to leave. Three schools in that area remained closed.

© Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email