190511-nrr-fireupdate-01

Faint smoke is visible from the Tiller Trail Highway Fire on Friday.

Flames from the Tiller Trail Highway Fire appeared to be closing in on Tiller resident Paulette Fowler-Harris’ house Thursday.

“I would say the fire was within two city blocks of my home on two different sides,” Fowler-Harris said. “We were the closest house to the fire.”

As she watched the flames, fire crews told her to collect valuable belongings and be ready to evacuate at any time. But she never had to leave her house, which she has been living in for the past 23 years, she said.

Crews were able to secure a fire line preventing the advance of the fire before her house could be damaged.

“A big shout out to all these guys, man, they rocked yesterday,” Fowler-Harris said about the firefighters. “They hustled and got this fire put out, and I’ve never been so grateful in my life. They saved my home.”

Of the four wildfires keeping county firefighters busy Thursday, crews are still on the scene of the Tiller Trail Highway Fire and Union Gap Fire.

Firefighters assigned to the Tiller Trail Highway Fire worked throughout the day Friday, mopping up hot spots and patrolling fire lines. Crews focused their efforts on the first 50 to 75 feet around the perimeter of the fire, and condition reports from those on the scene were favorable.

According to the Douglas Forest Protective Association, smoke will be visible from the interior of the Tiller Trail Highway Fire for the next few days as crews mop up hot spots within the burned area.

The DFPA said firefighters on Friday were able to use GPS navigation to map the Tiller Trail Highway Fire, which measured 45 acres. The increase in fire size is due to more accurate mapping rather than additional fire growth.

Although the Tiller Trail Highway is open to traffic, motorists are asked to drive with caution through the area as firefighters and equipment may be working on or close to the roadway.

At the Union Gap Fire, the Incident Commander reported good progress was made on the fire. Crews started the day by improving containment lines down both flanks of the fire and then focused their efforts on mopping up hot spots within 50 feet of the fire line. Smoke will be visible from the interior of the fire for the next couple days as crews work their way into the middle of the fire, mopping up hot spots.

With the help of GPS, firefighters measured the Union Gap Fire on Friday at 18 acres.

Max Egener can be reached at megener@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4217. Or follow him on Twitter @maxegener.

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City Reporter

Max Egener is the city reporter for The News-Review. He has a master's degree from the University of Oregon, and is an avid skier and backpacker.

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