CHILOQUIN, Ore. – Drier conditions, lower humidity and increased fire behavior, forced the Chiloquin Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest, to convert the North 2 prescribed fire, which began yesterday, into a wildfire called the Meadow Fire. It is currently under the command of the local Chiloquin Ranger District. Designating the burn as the Meadow Fire allows the Forest to bring on larger aircraft to control the fire’s spread. The burn area is about 5 miles northeast of Chiloquin but is moving away from the community.
The plan was to treat up to 4,000 acres and 345 acres were completed successfully yesterday. While a decision was made this morning to postpone completion of the burn and simply secure the line until conditions were better, things deteriorated faster than expected. The decision to declare a prescribed fire, a wildfire, can simply reflect a need to bring on aircraft like tankers and other resources to aid in suppression.
“The kind of conditions we had this morning,” says Ken Gregor, Mazama Zone Fire Management Officer, “increased fire behavior to a point where we needed to go into more of an operational suppression mode to try and curtail it quickly. To do that, we had to declare it a wildfire which allows us to bring in larger aircraft and other resources to help, like hand crews, dozers and engines.” The fire is still inside of the planned prescription area, Gregor says, but it was important to be proactive quickly to keep it inside the parameters. Smoke will continue to be an issue so those sensitive to smoke in the Chiloquin area are encouraged to take precautionary measures.
The North 2 Prescribed Fire project is part of the Chiloquin Community Forest and Fire Project, which is funded in part through the USDA Joint Chief’s program. The purpose of the project is to treat lands at a landscape scale across boundaries to create a forest resilient to natural and human-caused disturbance, including fire. This includes defensible space and fuel reduction treatments.
Updates on the North 2 Fire will be posted on the Fremont Winema Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/R6FWNF as well as on the SCOFMP Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SCOFMPFIREINFO. Information boards are in place in the Chiloquin area and will be updated as information is available.