News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Type 2 Incident Team takes on Green Ridge Fire

As the Green Ridge Fire grew exponentially on Tuesday afternoon, a Type 2 Incident Management Team — Northwest Team 10 — transitioned into management of the blaze. By tomorrow, there will be 250-260 personnel and substantial numbers of equipment on the fire.

The fire is currently estimated at about 500 acres, though precise estimates are difficult due to smoky conditions. Sisters District Ranger Ian Reid told The Nugget that there will not be an infrared mapping overflight tonight as the new team transitions in.

The fire is burning in heavy vegetation and steep slopes on the west side, and spotted across the top of the ridge to the east on Tuesday afternoon. While the fire is near Camp Sherman, Reid said that there is “an extremely low probability” of the fire actually getting into the community. There are no evacuation orders or notices currently in place.

Reid and Forest Service Public Information Officer Lisa Clark said that high temperatures and wind contributed to the growth of the blaze on Tuesday — along with extremely challenging terrain.

On the steep west slope of the ridge, burning materials rolled downhill, igniting unburned forest, as the wind pushed the blaze over the ridge.

“They were fighting both the east side and the west side,” Clark said.

Firefighters couldn’t hold the fire west of Forest Road 1130 at the top of the ridge.

“The 1130 was holding pretty well, then it spotted and those got established,” Reid said.

Reid said firefighters are hopeful that cooler temperatures expected on Wednesday will help slow the progress of the fire. (Editor's note: A subsequent weather forecast called for gusty winds, which made the prognosis less favorable. Those winds were materializing Wednesday afternoon and the fire continued to grow).

Reid said that the resources under threat from the fire currently lie in a private timber inholding of Ponderosa Land and Cattle Co.

An informational Inciweb site is expected to be in place tomorrow, Clark said, and that site will include maps. Reid said that a planned road closure will close Road 11 north of the turnoff to the Black Butte Trailhead, leaving that popular hiking destination open, at least for now.

Reid noted that the initial attack firefighters “did a great job.” There were seven fire starts on the District from recent lighting storms, and firefighters caught them all. The Green Ridge Fire was almost certain to pose a problem due to the extreme terrain.


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