S-503 surpasses 6,000 acres; how wildfire started is unknown
The S-503 Fire on the north part of the Warm Springs Reservation between Highway 26 and Highway 216 grew to approximately 6,200 acres over the past few days and was 10% contained as of Tuesday morning, reported Incident Commander Kevin Stock.
The fire began around 4:45 p.m. Friday, June 18 and was estimated to be around 250 acres. It was located approximately 3 miles east of Highway 26, 2 miles north of Quartz Butte, and 10 miles north of Simnasho. The cause of the wildfire is unknown.
Some homes were evacuated, and others were told to be prepared to evacuate.
Hot and dry conditions and strong winds elevated fire weather concerns during the last few days, and smoke blew across the region.
Resources of crews, engines, dozers, water tenders and aerial support arrived in force Sunday. Approximately 250 personnel are assigned to the fire.
Northwest Incident Management Team 8, a local type 2 team, with Incident Commander Stock assumed management of the S-503 Fire Monday morning. The incident command post is located at the Wasco County Fairgrounds, and a base camp is located off Ashby Road also in Tygh Valley. A spike camp is located in Bear Springs Campground. This fire is being managed as a full suppression fire.
The S-503 Fire continues to burn in timber and grasses on the Confederated Tribe of the Warm Springs Reservation and approximately 535 acres of privately owned in-holdings protected by Oregon Department of Forestry. Firefighters are focused on securing areas of concern, including structures, residences and values at risk.
On Monday night, the crews continued line construction on the southern portion of the fire, tying into a large meadow. In addition, resources secured line around two spot fires over the S-560 and S-570 Roads.
On Tuesday morning, Stock reported that firefighters will continue to strengthen lines on the fire's northern (one mile south of Highway 216) and eastern flanks (four miles west of Highway 3), including securing the heel of the fire in the northwestern corner of the fire perimeter. On the southern and western flanks of the fire (approximately two miles east of Highway 26), resources are constructing direct fire line where feasible while securing and holding existing containment line.
Predicted Tuesday afternoon winds and potential thunderstorms may test the eastern flank. Initial attack activity is expected to increase as lightning activity moves through the area. Northwest Incident Management Team 8 will assist the Confederated Tribe of the Warm Springs Reservation with any new fire starts.
Wildfire updates are available online at inciweb.nwcg.gov/.
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