Fire scorches Grizzly Mountain
A brush fire erupted on Grizzly Mountain nine miles northwest of Prineville early Monday, threatening multiple homes and prompting a dozen evacuations.
The fire prompted help from a variety of resources, according to Lauren DuRocher, the incident's public information officer. More than 75 firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry and Bureau of Land Management worked together on suppression efforts, joined by resources from Crook County Fire and Rescue and two task forces of structural engines from the Central Oregon Interface Task Force.
Those task forces are comprised of resources from structural fire departments throughout Central Oregon. In addition, firefighters were supported by three helicopters, four single engine air tankers and two heavy air tankers.
As agencies pitched in to put out the fire, emergency personnel started moving people out of the area.
"On Monday afternoon, the Crook County Sheriff issued a Level 3 Evacuation for approximately 12 residences along Grizzly Mountain Road and a Level 1 Evacuation for an additional 12 homes along McCoin Road," DuRocher stated. "Level 3 Evacuation means evacuate immediately, leave now. Level 1 Evacuation means be ready for the potential of evacuation."
Meanwhile, according to Vicky Ryan, Crook County's emergency preparedness coordinator, residents of Windy Ridge Road had begun to self-evacuate.
As the fire grew to more than 200 acres, smoke drifted into town and ashes fell from the sky.
"There is heavy smoke in the area of Prineville and residents are urged to stay indoors if they have difficulty breathing or if they have respiratory conditions that may be exacerbated by the heavy smoke," Ryan stated in a news release late Monday afternoon.
Although the fire grew quickly on the hot summer afternoon, firefighters were able to bring it under control during the same day. DuRocher noted that by Monday night, evacuations were lifted and no homes or buildings were lost in the blaze.
"There continues to be a combination of crews, engines, water tenders and other resources working on mop-up operations to extinguish hot spots and smoldering pockets within the fire area," she said Wednesday.
DuRocher said the fire was likely human caused, but at this time the specific cause of it remains under investigation.