Fire near John Day keeps growing

South Fork Complex Fire crosses containment lines, jumps river

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin / @DylanJDarling

Published Aug 8, 2014 at 12:02AM

The two fires in the South Fork Complex Fire burning near John Day grew again Thursday, with one of the fires spreading over containment lines and across the South Fork of the John Day River.

“It’s been a very active day,” Bill Queen, spokesman for the interagency team managing the fire, said Thursday night.

He didn’t have an estimate of how much the South Fork Complex Fire, which had burned nearly 40,000 acres at the start of Thursday, had grown. Wednesday the fire grew by 6,000 acres and Queen had said he expected similar growth Thursday.

The burn area covers close to 62 miles, almost twice as large as Bend’s city limits.

More than 530 firefighters are fighting the fires, which were sparked by lightning on July 31. The South Fork Complex Fire is burning through grassland and forest on a mix of private and public land, including lands managed by the state, Malheur National Forest and the Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Management.

Firefighters have not targeted a date for containment of the South Fork Complex Fire.

“It’s just still too active to put a finger on (containment) yet,” Queen said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812, ddarling@bendbulletin.com