KENO, Ore. – Firefighters will continue work today on the Bear Flat Fire ahead of the storm predicted Saturday. The fire is burning in the Klamath River Canyon, approximately 9 miles southwest of Keno.
The fire is estimated to be 57 acres this morning and 30 percent contained. The cause is under investigation.
Great work was done on the fire yesterday, with mop-up going 33 feet into the fire perimeter and minimal use of aircraft.
Overnight conditions were typical for summer, with moderate to poor recovery and winds shifting from upslope to downslope. There is a front moving into the area and rain in the forecast Saturday. It is expected that there will be gusty winds today and Saturday before wetting rains Saturday afternoon. Winds and relative low humidity today could lead to fire spread before the storm.
Today there are more than 120 people assigned to the fire, including five hand crews, 10 engines, four water tenders and one dozer. The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) Type 3 Incident Management Team is continuing to manage the fire response.
Lines are expected to be tested by the wind today and tomorrow in front of the storm coming tomorrow night. Wildland firefighting resources will continue to work to secure lines, identify and mitigate hazard trees and identify contingency line options. Mop-up is occurring on the southwest and eastern flanks of the fire.
The Lakeview District Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has temporarily closed Ward Road from Route 66 to Mud Springs Road and Copco/Big Bend Road-entire road south of the Emergency Spillway. The Klamath River is also closed to rafting from the Klamath Dam to the Oregon-California Stateline. Campgrounds in the Upper Klamath River Canyon on river right are closed and the public is asked to stay out of the canyon area.
Smoke from the fire will continue to be highly visible today. There are no structures threatened and the community of Keno is not at risk.
There continues to be traffic in the area from wildland firefighting equipment. Area residents and visitors are asked to use caution driving in the area.
The Bear Flat Fire is burning in steep, inaccessible terrain and heavy timber on the BLM Lakeview District and moving towards Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) protected lands.
Fire danger remains “Extreme” in Lake and Klamath counties. Even with rain, fire danger and fuels remain extremely dry and can carry fire quickly. Seasonal winds can make even a small spark rapidly grow into a large wildfire.
The latest restrictions and regulations, including for ODF and the federal agencies, are available at https://scofmp.org/restrictions.shtml.