Oregon Department of Forestry crews and local area firefighting agencies are monitoring — and working to contain — a forest fire that is burning in the Tillamook State Forest, some 22 miles northwest of Forest Grove.
The fire, which sparked July 3, remains under investigation and its cause has yet to be determined.
As of Monday, July 19, ODF officials said that the fire had burned roughly 190 acres, but they added that the wildfire is "fully lined."
"Those lines held yesterday with minimal aviation assistance," the department reported Monday, and crews are "continuing to work on reinforcing them."
The department says steep terrain is making it hard for the more than 120 firefighting personnel on the ground to deepen their control lines and hold the wildfire at bay.
Last weekend, Henry Hagg Lake was closed temporarily so that firefighting aircrafts could scoop water from the local lake to aid firefighting efforts. Earlier in the week, it was announced that helicopters were assisting the Game Hog Creek firefighting endeavor, yet ODF said Saturday that mechanical issues had grounded two helicopters prior to deployment.
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 July 14. "Then I guess the wind picked up and it must have crossed the line, somehow, which can happen."
While no rain is in the immediate forecast, the weather has given firefighters a bit of a boost. Cooler marine air moved into the area July 16, which the Department of Forestry said aided the process.
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. have assisted in the fight.
The Tillamook State Forest remains open but visitors can expect smoke in the area. However, the Drift Creek and Idiot Creek forest roads and the Fear and Loaming mountain bike trail remain closed due to fire activity. Also closed is Rogers Camp trailhead, which is being used as a staging area for firefighters. Highways 6 and 26 to the coast remain open and unaffected by the fire, which is burning about two miles north of Highway 6. No evacuations are associated with this fire.
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