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Fire crews patrol 488 fire site after rains contain flames

Authorities caution complacency in fire safety after moist weekend weather

After weekend rains contained the 488 Fire that broke out near Lolo Pass in the Zigzag Ranger District on Friday, July 24, fire officials are still patrolling the area for ongoing fire danger and advising the public to remain vigilant as the official fire season begins.

What 11-acre 488 Fire was reported at around 3 p.m. off of Forest Service Road 1825.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Hoodland Fire crews aided in attempting to gain control of a wildfire that broke out on the afternoon of Friday, July 24.

Hoodland Fire District, Mt. Hood National Forest and Oregon Department of Forestry responded to the wildfire site near McNeil campground.

“The fire grew to almost 12 acres in size before crews were able to get the fire under control for the evening,” said a release issued by Hoodland Fire just before noon on Saturday.

“An illegal campfire is suspected to have started the fire but no cause has been determined yet,” said a release issued by Mt. Hood National Forest on Saturday. “The entire forest is currently under public fire use restrictions. Open campfires are prohibited except for in designated approved campgrounds.”

The forest service closed Old Maid Flats, McNeil Campground and Forest Road 1825 for the weekend while crews continued to fight the fire.

Although the forest road, campground and surrounding areas have been reopened, Mt. Hood National Forest and Hoodland Fire ask the public to remain outside the burn zone for safety reasons.

Mt. Hood National Forest Public Affairs Officer Laura Pramuk said the weekend rain pretty much put out the remaining fire but crews remained on scene making sure the danger has passed.

"Once it heats up again, they’ll patrol again," she said. "We had the rain this weekend, it was a nice respite...but it's getting hot again, and people shouldn't become complacent."

Despite rain and low temperatures this weekend, the National Weather Service predicts dry conditions with temperatures in the 90s by Wednesday, July 29.

Pramuk said that despite an early start to this year's fire season, August marks the beginning of the official fire season and the public should still honor the forest's fire use restrictions — including the prohibition of open flames outside the designated campground areas and being careful with cigarettes and hot engine parts.

"Folks just need to be vigilant and they need to be as safe as they can," she added.

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