Nena Springs Fire burns estimated 34,000 acres on Warm Springs Reservation
A fire that was reported to have been started by farm equipment on private property in the Wapinitia area of Wasco County, rapidly moved to the north-central area of the Warm Springs Reservation on Aug. 8, and had expanded to about 34,000 acres as of Friday afternoon.
The Nena Springs Fire had consumed a home and at least one outbuilding, and more than 100 residences were threatened, with evacuation orders in place for the areas of Simnasho, Schoolie Flat and the S-300 subdivisions.
Friday afternoon, Gov. Kate Brown mobilized additional resources from the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office to assist with protection of structures on the reservation, under an existing agreement between the state and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
"The Warm Springs fire quickly spread, has already caused property damage, and continues to pose a threat to the local community," said Brown. "I ask residents to use caution and heed the guidance of local authorities, and to support efforts to contain the fire, I've directed the state fire marshal to make state resources available to the Warm Springs community."
Incident Commander Scott Magers, of the Blue Incident Management Team, and four firefighting taskforces were deployed, with two set to arrive Friday evening and the other two on Saturday morning to handle night and daytime operations.
According to Rich Hoover, public information officer for the OSFM, "Scott Magers will be working in unified command with the Northwest Team 12 commander, as well as BIA officials. He is in charge of all the structural protection teams that we have deployed for the fire."
At 6 a.m. Friday, a Northwest Team 12 took command of the fire, which is burning grasses, brush, slash and timber in rugged terrain. The team is hoping to keep the fire east of the Beaver Creek drainage, and Highway 3, north of Simnasho, south of Highway 216, and west of the Deschutes River. A burn ban remains in place across the reservation.
On Friday, about 240 people were working on the fire, along with two helicopters, three bulldozers and 16 fire engines, which had been called in from all over the region. The fire was about 4 percent contained.
The American Red Cross Cascades Region set up a temporary shelter in the Warm Springs Community Center on Aug. 9, to assist those affected by the fire who are in need of shelter. Those individuals or families were encouraged to go to the community center at 2200 Hollywood Blvd., in Warm Springs.
Disaster responders with the American Red Cross Cascades Region are assisting people affected by a wildfire in Warm Springs, OR. Information and updates on the fire can be found at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5489.