Crews have brought the 6,800-acre Two Bulls Fire to 25 percent containment this evening, with more than 800 personnel assigned to the fire and crews mostly completing hose lines along the eastern flank of the fire today.
Bend-La Pine Schools has announced that Miller Elementary, Cascade Middle and Summit High schools will remain closed on Tuesday because of the Two Bulls Fire that continues to burn two miles outside Bend.
The three schools are located within a Level II evacuation area, where people need to be prepared to depart at a moment’s notice. Finals will be rescheduled and students can check their schools’ websites for more information. All other Bend-La Pine Schools will be open, although schools across the region may have indoor recess this week.
The American Red Cross Cascades Region announced Monday evening it would close the shelter at High Desert Middle School. Those in need of assistance can call 1-888-680-1455. The shelter is ready to reopen if necessary and should additional evacuations take place.
Line construction also continued on the west flank, and two heavy and three medium helicopters were working the fire.
They also said there is a high likelihood of seeing considerable smoke from the fire throughout the afternoon and evening. One firefighter has suffered a minor leg laceration but no structures have been lost or damaged.
As of this evening, the Two Bulls Fire had not burned into the Bridge Creek Watershed, where the city of Bend gets most of its domestic water supply, according to news release from the city.
The Outback drinking water facilities, where the city treats and distributes the water from Bridge Creek, was not in the path of the fire, either.
However, the surface-water supply remains shut off, and Bend officials encourage water customers to conserve water and stop irrigating, if possible, or minimize it. The best time to irrigate is during off-peak hours, essentially after dark, according to the news release.
As a precaution, the city shut down the surface water supply Saturday and has been pumping water from groundwater wells. Bend has seven wells at the Outback site and 15 wells elsewhere around the city.
Bend water officials hope to start the water flowing from Bridge Creek again in a couple days, according to the news release. However, it will depend on water quality, which can be affected by the fire, and spring run-off.
Officials said this morning that the Two Bulls Fire had reached 6,800 acres in size, as it continued to burn on lands northwest of Bend.
Tina O’Donnell, spokeswoman with the Oregon Department of Forestry, said the fire had burned more than 10 square miles and was considered 5 percent contained.
Crews today are bracing for northwest winds of about 20 mph, which could blow the fire back toward town.
Bill Queen, a public information officer on the fire, said today will be a test to see whether fire lines will hold in the face of higher winds.
According to a morning update from the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office, all evacuation notices remain in effect.
The cause remains under investigation.
There are 11 helicopters, 46 engines, 11 dozers and 709 people assigned to fight the fire, which so far has cost about $1.23 million.
Gov. John Kitzhaber has invoked the emergency conflagration act, which orders the Oregon State Police and the Oregon State Fire Marshal to mobilize statewide firefighting resources.
A public information meeting is underway this evening at Bend High, 230 N.E. Sixth St.
The American Red Cross reports it’s been inundated with donations but can only accept financial help at this point.