Crews fight six-acre blaze on Mount Hood by Government Camp
Mt. Hood National Forest and Hoodland firefighters continue to battle a small fire near Timothy Lake on the forest today, Friday, July 30. Timothy Lake is a federal recreational area and campground located about 10 miles south of Government Camp.
Around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, July 29, a citizen called in a report of smoke in the area.
Crews soon found about six acres ablaze one mile north of the lake.
"With dry and hot conditions, the Mt. Hood National Forest acted quickly with air and ground support," forest service representatives said in a Facebook post yesterday.
Last night a few campers in the area were evacuated but allowed to return to their sites today.
Crews deployed two Fireboss Scooper aircraft and one heavy helicopter in yesterday's initial attack on what's been dubbed the Cooper Creek Fire. These are said to have been critical in keeping the fire from growing.
"Extremely dry fuels in the area are highly receptive to both ignition and sustained burning," representatives added. "Even with load after load of water from the scoopers, the fire still had areas with significant heat in the evening. Aircraft, while it cools or keeps a fire in check, does not put a fire out. Ground crews are needed to do that. Firefighters were on the ground yesterday and (today). An engine crew patrolled the fire through the night."
"The turnaround for the water was really outstanding," said volunteer fire responder Mary Ellen Fitzgerald, a retired Forest Service employee. She added that a major focus today has been downing tree snags, dead trees that are left upright to decompose naturally, so as to keep crews fighting the fire safe.
The containment line around the fire is not yet complete but the fire has remained at six acres.
Addressing the fire is a group of 40 firefighters, consisting of a 20-person crew from the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, a 10-person crew from the Mt. Hood National Forest and a 10-person crew from the Kaibab National Forest, utilizing three fire engines and one water tender besides the aforementioned aircraft.
No evacuations are currently in place, however, there is a roadblock along a segment of Forest Road 5890 along the northwest side of Timothy Lake. That roadblock is from its junction with Forest Road 58 southward to the North Arm Campground.
"We expect that (the fire) is human-caused given that there's not been lightning here yet," said Fitzgerald. "We've had a few fires on the forest so far but they've been escaped campfires. Overall the community is complying and supportive of the restrictions, but there are a few still creating campfires."
Forest Service officials would like to remind visitors to the forest that campfires remain prohibited. Portable propane camp stoves and fire rings are allowed.
To read the full list of fire restrictions, visit Mt. Hood National Forest website.
For updates on the fire and forest happenings, visit the forest Facebook page
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