YONCALLA—About 140 firefighters were battling a 60-acre wild fire in steep, rugged terrain near Andrews Creek six miles west of Yoncalla Saturday.
The cause of the fire was still under investigation Saturday.
The fire was reported at about 4 p.m. Friday. It was burning in slash and second growth timber on both federal and Lone Rock Timber Company-owned lands.
Douglas Forest Protective Association spokesman Kyle Reed said Saturday afternoon the fire was 100 percent surrounded by trails and water and crews were making progress extinguishing it.
“We’re getting a really good handle on it,” Reed said.
About 90 firefighters worked to contain the fire overnight Friday. They received a boost from the weather. High overnight humidity helped slow the fire’s growth.
Seven hand crews, four water tenders, two bulldozers and one airplane battled the blaze Saturday. DFPA was assisted by crews from Lone Rock and Roseburg Resources. North Douglas County Fire Department also responded.
“We’re going to be on it for a couple more days,” Reed said.
Reed said he hopes predicted Sunday night rainfall will materialize to make the battle easier.
“We’re hoping for some precipitation. At this point we’ll take anything,” Reed said.
Though the cause of the fire is unknown, Reed said an unusually dry year has contributed to this fire and the 206-acre Shively Creek fire near Days Creek. The Shively Creek fire started last Sunday afternoon and was contained Thursday morning. It is believed to be human-caused and the source remains under investigation.
Fire season does not usually start until mid-June, Reed said. DFPA has put no burning restrictions in place, but Reed said conditions in the woods are drier than they seem in the green forests.
“We’ve had so little rain for this time of year. We’re probably at least a month ahead of what we typically are,” Reed said. “It’s too early in the year to be doing this.”
Roseburg received half the usual 15 inches of rainfall in the first four months of this year.
Fire officials are asking county residents to avoid burning debris and to check debris piles from burns made in the past month for heat or smoke.
“I don’t think people realize it is as dry as it is out there,” Reed said. “If you don’t have to burn, please don’t. It’s really dry out there.”
• You can reach reporter Carisa Cegavske at 541-957-4213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.