CAMAS VALLEY — The Horse Prairie fire grew to 7,400 acres and was 15 percent contained by Wednesday evening as it continued to move southeast into timberland and away from populated communities.
The fire is located about 12 miles west of Riddle and 8 miles southeast of Camas Valley.
It produced large smoke columns Wednesday as it spread through the Cow Creek drainage while firefighters worked to widen existing spur roads and build new containment lines along ridgetops in the steep, rugged terrain with limited access to roads. Crews were burning out small fuel pockets from the main fire to the established trails, then working to bring the fire down to established roads.
Aircraft helped to keep the fire edge cool and reduce the intensity late in the day Wednesday when temperatures dropped and the fire spread slowed.
An incident meteorologist assigned to the fire forecast one more day of reduced temperatures and light winds out of the northwest, pushing the fire to the south and southeast, though an excessive heat watch with temperatures near 100 degrees is expected over the weekend.
The Level 3 “Go” evacuation remains in the area, meaning residents of Lower Cow Creek Road from the end of County Maintenance to Union Creek, including residents of Doe Creek Road, are urged to stay away due to imminent threat of wildfire. Local fire departments have posted a fire engine at all nine affected homes in the evacuation area. Two outbuildings have been destroyed.
The Bureau of Land Management expanded the temporary closure of public lands around the Horse Prairie fire and surrounding areas Wednesday. Closed areas will be posted with regulation signs at main access and entry points.