End of Horse Prairie Fire's growth is in sight, but 'there’s nothing easy about it'
RIDDLE, Ore. – The end of the fire’s growth is in sight. But as Eric Perkins, Night Operations Section Chief for the Horse Prairie Fire, put it, “the remaining burnout, there’s nothing easy about it.”
The last section of unsecured fireline, about one-half mile in the southeast corner of the fire and adjacent to Cow Creek, was to be “burned out” Tuesday night. This burnout, a controlled burn of woody debris adjacent to the fireline, continues work from Monday night and Tuesday, totaling five miles. Challenges to Tuesday night’s work increased with winds making containment of flying embers difficult.
Once the burnout is successfully completed there will be a rind of black around the entire perimeter of the fire. Firefighters are making the most of the calm weather before forecast thunderstorms hit the area Wednesday.
On other portions of the fire crews continued extinguishment of all visible flame and embers adjacent to the fireline, which will be aided by heat sensing infrared cameras.
Oregon National Guard added 150 personnel to the fire Tuesday to assist with control operations. These troops, now firefighters, are expected to bring fresh energy to the continued effort. Fire qualified crew bosses, supplied by the fire, will help direct the Guard firefighters to effectively utilize their recent five days of training. With the shortage of firefighters regionally and nationally, the addition of The Guard is expected to greatly help in bringing this fire under control.
The Horse Prairie Fire is now mapped at an estimated 16,419 acres, is 25% contained and staffed with 1,099 personnel.
Structure protection remains in place at residences currently within the area designated as Level 3 evacuation. The Level 3 evacuation notice and road and area closures remain in effect. The public is asked to stay clear of the area for their safety as well as the safety of firefighters. People that trespass into these closed areas may be cited and fined.