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Fire burns about 204 acres, prompts evacuation of multiple residences Friday evening before firefighters and resources contain the blaze and prevent destruction of structures

A wildfire erupted in Juniper Canyon about nine miles southeast of Prineville late Friday afternoon.

According to a report from Crook County Emergency Manager Michael Ryan, the fire was reported around 3:30 p.m. and was initially spotted by the Black Butte and Tower Butte lookouts.

Central Oregon Fire Info reported that the Cowboy Fire was initially pushed by wind through grass and brush and grew rapidly before fire resources arrived on scene. During the early evening, Crook County Sheriff's Office issued Type 2 (Be Set) and Type 3 (Go Now) evacuations for a cluster of residences in the Juniper Canyon area. A shelter was established at Carey Foster Hall for evacuees.

Aggressive use of aircraft, including single engine air tankers, large air tankers and a Type 2 helicopter moderated fire behavior, allowing firefighters to establish fire lines and stop spread of the fire late Friday evening.

The Cowboy Fire grew to 204 acres, and most of the burned area is in Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction. No structures were damaged in the blaze. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Authorities report that the fire started in an area close to Juniper Canyon Road at approximately mile marker 8. The fire burned to the northwest and had a strong wind on it from the south. Ground crews were aided by a very strong group of air support units. More than a dozen air drops were accomplished, helping to slow and ultimately halt fire movement to the north. At about 5 p.m., the wind shifted from the south to the northeast and pushed a hot spot to the southeast, which was quickly managed by ground and air resources.

Crook County Sheriff's Office canceled its evacuation notices at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, following reports from firefighters of no increase in fire behavior. Roads in the fire area were open to residents only, and motorists were cautioned that numerous equipment would be on the roadways operating in the area. Crews worked Saturday to reinforce the dozer line around the fire and tackle hotspots in the interior of the fire perimeter.


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