Fire crews work spot fires as they prepare for shifting winds
BONANZA, Ore.—Firefighters were kept busy overnight suppressing a number of small fires started by drifting embers on the southern and eastern flanks of the Cutoff Fire, six miles north of Bonanza in Klamath County. Fire lines on the northern and western portions of the fire held overnight. Today, firefighters will begin mopping up those portions of the fire, cooling hot spots. Over half of the fire’s 1,150-acre perimeter has been lined. Containment remains at 10 percent.
The fire is burning on a mix of public and private forestland and threatens approximately 125 structures. Evacuations remain in effect today with a Level 3 (GO NOW) evacuation for the area east of Bly Mountain Cutoff Road, between Jaguar Lane/Racoon Lane and Spaniel Lane/ Crocodile Lane, west of Thrasher Drive. Those levels will be reviewed later today for possible change.
Firefighters will be challenged late today when winds are expected to pick up. A red-flag warning is in effect from 5 p.m. due to thunderstorms with associated shifting winds, with gusts possible up to 25 miles per hour. These conditions are expected to challenge control lines as the vegetation remains extremely dry, similar to mid-to-late July conditions. Thunderstorms are expected to be dry early, but may bring rain later in the evening.
A total of 250 personnel have been assigned to the fire, including ground crews, fire engines, bulldozers and other heavy equipment. About nine aircraft will continue attacking the fire today, including helicopters. Other available aircraft are single-engine air tankers and a very large air tanker. They will drop water and retardant to slow the fire’s spread and help firefighters tackle any small fires starting beyond the control lines.
A community meeting about the fire is planned for Tuesday night at 7p.m.in Bonanza, which will be streamed live on the CutoffFire’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CutoffFire2021)
American Red Cross and the Klamath County Community Emergency ResponseTeam(CERT) have set up shelter for evacuees at the Living Springs Fellowship Church(31897 Mission St,Bonanza, OR 97623). The shelter offers temporary housing, meals, first aid and a pet shelter.
ODF’s Incident Management Team 1 has been in command of the fire since Sunday night. Incident Commander Joe Hessel said the emphasis today is on safety due to the changing wind and thunderstorms. “We want to keep the fire from spreading today in that very dry vegetation, so firefighters will need to be very aware as winds move around and increase in speed.”