LAKEVIEW, Ore. – The Cougar Peak Fire, burning approximately 15 miles northwest of Lakeview, is now estimated to be more than 3,200 acres with no containment.
Fire behavior overnight continued to be active, with running, torching and spotting in mixed conifer and brush. The fire is burning primarily to the northeast on the Lakeview Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest and Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) protected lands.
There is a Red Flag Warning in effect from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. today for strong gusty winds with low relative humidity. Winds are predicted to be 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 to 40 mph and 12 to 15 percent humidity. This is likely to affect fire behavior this afternoon and evening.
Numerous wildland firefighting resources are assigned to the fire, with more on order.
The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) Type 3 Incident Management Team is currently managing the fire. A Type 2 Incident Management Team is expected to arrive in the area later today.
Smoke from the fire is highly visible along Oregon State Highway 140 between Lakeview and Quartz Mountain, as well as along U.S. Highway 395. There are expected to be continued smoke impacts today to the communities in the Summer Lake area, including Paisley.
Drivers should use caution due to increased traffic from wildland firefighting equipment and possible reduced visibility from smoke. Area residents and visitors are also asked to avoid traveling on Forest Roads near the Cougar Peak Fire, including Forest Road 28 and Forest Road 3870, also known as Cottonwood Road.
Recreation sites in the area are closed, including Upper Cottonwood Campground and Cottonwood Creek Trailhead.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management and the Incident Commander have identified areas for Level 3 (Go Now) and Level 1 (Be Ready) Evacuations in the fire area.
Lake County Evacuations:
Level 3 Evacuation Notice (GO NOW – Residents should leave IMMEDIATELY.)
- Lower Cottonwood Road north to Forest Road 3870-041.
Level 1 (GET READY – Residents should make preparations for potential evacuation.)
- Forest Road 28, from the Forest Boundary northwest to Cox Flat.
Area residents and visitors are reminded that Public Use Restrictions are still in effect on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, as well as fire restrictions in effect on neighboring landscapes.
Fire danger remains “Extreme” in Lake and Klamath counties. Extremely dry fuels and seasonal winds can make even a small spark rapidly grow into a large wildfire. These fires can be destructive, resulting in evacuations, damage to property and natural resources, and affects public and firefighter safety.
The public is responsible for ensuring that they have reviewed and are aware of the restrictions in place for the landscape they plan to recreate or work on. For all agencies, violation of these prohibitions could result in citations, fines, and even imprisonment, depending on the agency and order.
The latest restrictions and regulations, including for ODF and the federal agencies are available at https://scofmp.org/restrictions.shtml.