CHILOQUIN, Ore. – Firefighters worked around the clock last night and have the Meadow Fire fully lined. 815 acres of the 4000 acres planned for the North 2 prescribed fire were burned and it remains fully within the planned project area. The fire is 5 miles northeast of Chiloquin, and continues to move away from the community. A local type three Incident Management Team, led by Incident Commander Troy Parrish arrived this morning to take command of the fire to allow the local resources to get some rest.
Last night, two heavy air tankers dropped retardant checking the fire to allow crews to get around it. The Winema and the Rogue River Hotshots, 21 engines and 5 dozers were also mobilized to help and successfully got the fire lined. “I feel very confident this morning that the fire is in a really good place for the incoming IMT,” Assistant Fire Management Officer Evan Wright said. This morning the Zigzag and La Grande Hotshot arrived along with three more engines, four water tenders and the Type 3 Incident Management Team.
The Chiloquin District of the Fremont Winema National Forest has a long history of good results with prescribed fires, and it’s because the safety of firefighters and the community are always the first priority, said Wright. “We have a lot of very stringent requirements for doing prescribed burns, but sometimes we begin to see undesirable fire effects happening and that’s what happened here. The burn had some increased fire behavior and was killing more trees and burning hotter than we planned for, so we did the responsible thing and put it out,” he said. “Did we NEED to convert it to a wildfire? Maybe not, because it was still well within the area we planned to burn. But doing so gave us more options to get a lot more help quickly to be very sure we could extinguish it. That was the responsible thing to do to protect the community.”
The North 2 prescribed fire was planned to burn 4000 acres out of 6000 that are prepped and ready to go just NE of Chiloquin. In 2018 and 2019, about 4700 acres were burned adjacent to the same general area. Prescribed fires, outside of fire-prone communities, help to reduce the risk when wildfires threaten populated areas. A little smoke may continue as crews wrap up their work 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.