In the community

Curry Canyon Fire near Juntura under control

A helicopter drops water on the edge of the Curry Canyon fire Saturday night. (Jayme Fraser / Malheur Enterprise)

JUNTURA — A human-caused fire that broke out less than two miles northeast of Juntura on Saturday afternoon is under control.

Crews from the Vale District Bureau of Land Management and Juntura Rangeland Fire Protection Association initially responded to the Curry Canyon Fire. On Sunday, neighboring federal and state firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, BLM and the Oregon Department of Forestry joined the fight to suppress the fire, which has 3,100 acres as of Monday morning.

“This fire has been a true interagency effort,” said Sam Delong, incident commander of the High Desert Type III Team, which continues to manage the fire. “There was great support from the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Juntura Rangeland Fire Protection Association, all the air support we were able to get and all of the firefighters from other Districts that came to help.”

The BLM reported that “steep and rocky terrain are hampering control efforts.” On Sunday, the fire moved past the containment line at one point and burned a pile of flight gear from one of the helicopter crews.

“It’s been a challenge keeping [the fire] parked where it is,” said Al Crouch, fire education specialist with the Vale district BLM. The hot temperatures, low relative humidity, windy weather and chance of thunderstorms have not been helpful, he added.

However, crews have stopped the forward spread of the fire and are working within the perimeter to suppress the fire. Two helicopters, four hand crews, two fire dozers, fifteen engines, four water tenders and 138 firefighters are on scene.

“We should see containment by the end of the week,” said Crouch.

The fire was reported to have started on private land Saturday afternoon and has burned through a mix of public and private lands, threatening power lines and sage grouse habitat. One power pole structure has caught fire, but there have been no power outages.

The BLM has determined the fire ignited due to human activity, but the specific cause is still under investigation.

There have been no injuries or evacuations. No road closures have been issued and Highway 20 remains open, but the public is advised to use caution when driving through the area.

We invite you to be part of our reporting effort by sending us a Facebook message or emailing [email protected] with information and photos about storms, fires or other developments.

Reporter Kristine de Leon: (541) 473-3377 or [email protected]

Reader Courtney Duckworth submitted this photo of the Curry Canyon fire, which she took at 3:40 p.m. Saturday. “Our cell towers have been out since last night, but just came on,” she wrote about 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

Saturday night, three helicopters scooped water and dumped it on the Curry Canyon fire, which burned just north of the Malheur River. (Jayme Fraser / Malheur Enterprise)