Game Hog Creek blaze jumps fire lines near Forest Grove
Firefighters from six Oregon Department of Forestry offices, along with crews from South Fork and industrial forest landowners who are providing water tender support, are fighting a wildfire burning in the Tillamook State Forest about 22 miles northwest of Forest Grove.
The Game Hog Creek Fire, which is burning in "timber and slash" north of Highway 6, was first reported July 3. Officials said it was contained to 6 acres, with control lines completely encircling it, as of the evening of July 13, before jumping control lines after dark Tuesday night and overnight into Wednesday, July 14.
"Last patrol was last night at about 5:30 p.m., and everything was good," Oregon Department of Forestry spokesperson Jim Gersbach said. "Then I guess the wind picked up and it must have crossed the line, somehow, which can happen."
Gersbach said that as of Wednesday morning, the fire is estimated at about 70 acres. About 100 personnel are engaged on the fire, including firefighters and support personnel from ODF offices in Tillamook, Columbia City, Astoria, North Cascades, Forest Grove and the West Oregon District in Polk County, as well as Hampton Lumber and Stimson Lumber Co.
Gersbach added — and South Fork Camp manager Dave Luttrell confirmed — that the terrain continues to make fighting and containing the fire difficult due to its "steep and inaccessible" nature.
But Gersbach also said that Wednesday's forecast temperatures in the 70s should aid crews' ongoing efforts.
"The weather's a bit cooler today, which is favorable," Gersbach said, "so they're really going to try and hit that hard."
The original cause of the fire remains under investigation. There was speculation that it may have been caused by fireworks, but Gersbach said he couldn't confirm that.
Drift Creek and Idiot Creek forest roads are closed, as is the Fear and Loaming mountain bike trail, due to fire activity in the area. Elk Creek campground is currently open, but smoke is likely in the area. To avoid exposure to possible smoke, campers may wish to stay away.
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