Indian Creek fire near Juntura expands to 14,000 acres

Bureau of Land Management crews conduct Burnout operations off U.S. Highway 20 at Jonesboro ranch Wednesday, Aug. 19. (Photo courtesy of the BLM).

JUNTURA – The Indian Creek Fire burning northeast of Juntura expanded to 14,000 acres Wednesday and crews from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are also contending with new blazes across the county sparked by lightning.

Firefighters deployed air resources to protect homes and other structures Tuesday threatened by the Indian Creek Fire as thunderstorms continued to hinder efforts to dig lines around the blaze.

The fire is creating unique challenges for fire crews, said Al Crouch, fire mitigation and education specialist for the Vale BLM.

“That country is really steep and rocky. The fuels are pretty thick. It is really difficult to access many areas of the fire line with equipment so they are having to access it with hand crew work. So, it takes time,” said Crouch.

The weather isn’t cooperating either, said Crouch.

“The thunderstorm winds are definitely hindering our containment efforts,” said Crouch.

Crouch said the Indian Creek Fire was human-caused and the BLM would like to hear from anyone who was in the area of U.S. Highway 20 at Jonesboro near milepost 203 Sunday. Residents can call the Vale District of the BLM at 541-473-6374 or the WeTip hotline at 1-800-472-7766. 

Meanwhile, firefighters from the Vale and Burns Districts of the Bureau of Land Management are attending to five other fires across the county.

The Indian Creek Fire near Juntura grew in size Wednesday and has now scorched 14,000 acres. (BLM graphic).

The Baldy Mountain Fire, about eight miles northeast of Ironside, grew from 1,850 acres late Tuesday to 5,000 acres Wednesday.

The Ironside Rangeland Fire Protection Association along with seven engines, seven bulldozers and two hand crews are on the Baldy Mountain Fire.

Crews are also working the 4,000-acre Wildcat Fire 15 miles northwest of Burns Junction near the Malheur/Harney County line. Two fire engines, three bulldozers, three crews and seven smokejumpers are on the Wildcat Fire which was 30 percent contained Wednesday.

The 20-acre Keeney Creek Fire is burning south of Harper and is not contained. One fire engine and one bulldozer are deployed to the Keeney Creek Fire.

The Anderson Crossing Fire west of McDermitt was not contained as of Wednesday and one fire engine was deployed to the blaze.

The fire crews are also responding to a fire in the Three Fingers area southwest of Adrian. The size of the Anderson Crossing and Three Fingers fires was not available.

A more stable weather pattern Wednesday should help firefighters as they work to contain the Baldy Mountain and Wildcat fires.

 News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at 541-235-1003 or at [email protected].

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