100-degree temperatures prompt heat watch over weekend for 7,400-acre Horse Prairie Fire

The Horse Prairie Fire on August 30, 2017. (Still from DFPA video)

RIDDLE, Ore. – The Horse Prairie Fire is one of 15 large wildfires burning in Oregon.

That means there are a limited number of firefighting resources available to meet suppression objectives, fire managers said Thursday in a briefing.

And extreme heat is expected this weekend, further complicating the task ahead for fire crews.

Over 900 people are assigned to the fire, but fire managers would like additional crews and engines.

An Oregon National Guard unit fighting the High Cascades Complex transferred to the Horse Prairie Fire this week.

And as smoke cleared, small aircraft known as single engine air tankers, based out of Roseburg, resumed fighting the fire from the air Wednesday.

"Crews, equipment and aircraft are working in unison to slow the fire's spread," firefighters said Wednesday night. "The fire is not moving toward Glenbrook and Riddle at this time, but rather on a southward path to the west of these communities and into open timberland. "

The fire is now estimated at 7,400 acres and remains 15 percent contained.

Firefighters are hopeful that the smoke lifts enough to allow aircraft to begin flying early in the day Thursday.

While the weather has moderated slightly, the fire remains active.

An excessive heat watch with temperatures near 100 degrees is expected over the weekend.

Firefighters on the night shift had some success with burnout operations, removing forest fuels and slowing the fire’s momentum between containment lines and the main fire’s edge.

A Level 3 evacuation notification remains in effect for Lower Cow Creek Road from the end of County Maintenance to Union Creek, including residents living on Doe Creek Road. The local fire departments have posted a fire engine at all nine affected homes in the evacuation area. Two outbuildings have been destroyed.

Road and area closures also remain in effect in and around the fire area. The public is asked to stay clear of the area for their safety as well as the safety of firefighters.

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