The Sunnyside Turnoff Fire, on the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, is still alive and moving, said Oregon Incident Management Team Four fire information officer Bill Queen.
The fire, which started Saturday, is still burning on the west side of the Deschutes River. The hazard it poses to rafters and anglers prompted the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to close the 39-mile portion of the Lower Deschutes between Warm Springs and Nena this morning. The BLM Prineville office said it would reopen the river stretch at 6 p.m. today, but reminded anyone on it to use caution.
Queen said winds have pushed the fire northwest into the Mutton Mountains, which complicates the challenge for firefighters.
“The terrain on the mountain is different,” Queen said. “The fuel alone up there, without a large wind component, is an issue.”
Larger fuels are difficult for ground crews to fight, but aerial attacks with water and retardant create more smoke and prevent future aerial dumps. The management team is concerned also for the approximately 40 residents in the Schoolie Flat area on the west side of the mountain.
The fire at last count had burned 22,320 acres and prompted the evacuation of the Ka-Nee-Ta resort and approximately 40 homes in two subdivisions.
The firefighters plan to meet at 7 p.m. to discuss a plan of action for fighting the fire’s growth. During the meeting, they will also generate a better idea for the fire’s movement and growth today, debrief day crews and prepare night crews, Queen said.