KENO, Ore. – Firefighters have made great progress on the Bear Flat Fire burning in the Klamath River Canyon, approximately 9 miles southwest of Keno.
The fire is 57 acres and 50 percent contained. The cause is under investigation.
Winds predicted yesterday were lighter than expected, allowing firefighters to make more progress with mop-up and securing fire lines. Today that work will continue, taking advantage of improved weather conditions.
Rain forecasted to start midafternoon today arrived early, starting this morning over the fire area. Rain showers are expected to continue today, with up to a half inch of rain possible tonight and more rain through tomorrow. Warm and dry conditions are expected to return early next week.
Full containment of the Bear Flat Fire will be determined based on rainfall this weekend and could be as early as the middle of next week.
Due to the great work of firefighters since the fire was reported Monday, increased containment, the change in weather and increased precipitation over the fire area, fire managers will be transitioning the fire to a Type 4 organization and the Lakeview District Bureau of Land Management (BLM) later today.
The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) Type 3 Incident Management Team will transfer command today at 6 p.m.
“We appreciate the public’s patience, understanding and cooperation while we have been fighting the Bear Flat Fire in the Klamath River Canyon,” said Incident Commander Luke Jackson. “With the weather and fuel conditions this year there was potential for this fire to be much larger. But thanks to the hard work of air resources, wildland firefighters, partners, and the support of our local community we were able to stop this fire fairly quickly in challenging terrain.”
There are still approximately 120 people assigned to the fire today, including four hand crews, 8 engines, four water tenders and two dozers. Wildland firefighting resources are expected to start being released from the fire in the coming days.
Area residents and visitors can expect to see increased fire equipment traffic as some resources start leaving the area. Using caution while driving in the area is encouraged.
Smoke will remain visible within the fire perimeter in the coming weeks due to interior burning.
The temporary closures by Lakeview District BLM on Ward Road from Route 66 to Mud Springs Road and Copco/Big Bend Road-entire road south of the Emergency Spillway will remain in place. 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. The public will be notified when these areas reopen.
This will be the final update on the Bear Flat Fire unless there is a significant change in conditions.
For nearly a week, the Bear Flat Fire has been burning in steep, inaccessible terrain and heavy timber on the BLM Lakeview District and moving towards Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) protected lands.
While the rain this weekend is a welcome relief, this isn’t a fire season ending event. Hot, dry weather is expected to return next week and fuels will dry out again quickly.
Fire danger remains “Extreme” in Lake and Klamath counties. Seasonal winds can make even a small spark rapidly grow into a large wildfire. Area residents and visitors are asked to remain vigilant in these last weeks of fire season to help prevent wildfires.
The latest restrictions and regulations, including for ODF and the federal agencies, are available at https://scofmp.org/restrictions.shtml.