The Indian Creek Fire burns along U.S. 20 on. Sunday, Aug. 16. The wildfire, about 13 miles east of Juntura, Monday expanded to more than 9,000 acres. (PHOTO: Al Crouch/Vale District BLM)
MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Federal officials are seeking the public’s help investigating the cause of the 9,000-acre Indian Creek Fire. The BLM is asking that anyone who passed by the fire – which is only 10% contained – when it was small on Sunday afternoon share what they saw, including any suspicious activity. Investigators are looking for information concerning the area at mile post 203 on U.S. 20 at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The Vale District Bureau of Land Management encourages witnesses to call Vale BLM firefighters at 541-473-6374 or the WeTip hotline at 1-800-472-7766. Callers can remain anonymous, the BLM said.
Fire near Jordan Valley: BLM officials also reported Monday afternoon a new blaze was burning outside of Jordan Valley. The Anderson Crossing Fire was estimated to be 25 acres at 4:15 p.m. Two engines were on the scene, with more on the way, and air support had been requested.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: The fire grew to 8,000 acres last night as crews worked until 2 a.m., creating dozer lanes and grading existing roads. High winds and thunderstorms are forecast for the area Monday afternoon. A Type 2 management team is scheduled to take over responsibility for the fire on Tuesday, according to the BLM.
JUNTURA – A wildfire discovered Sunday afternoon on rangeland east of Juntura had burned over an estimated 5,000 acres by evening and strong winds were pushing the fire, the Vale District of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management reported.
Larisa Bogardus, BLM public affairs specialist, said the Indian Creek Fire was reported just before 1 p.m. Sunday and was burning north and west of U.S. Highway 20 in the Jonesboro area, the site of a former railroad stop. The fire location is about 13 miles east of Juntura.
As of Sunday evening, the state highway, a main east-west route through eastern Oregon, remained open.
Bogardus said 10 engines, two hand crews and three dozers were tasked to the fire. The Juntura Rangeland Fire Protection Association also was helping. Six single engine air tankers and three heavy air tankers were used Sunday.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, Bogardus said.
The National Weather Service forecast a continuing chance of thunderstorms in the area through Monday with daytime temperatures hitting 100.