Firefighters working on a fire that ignited in the Rock Creek Watershed near Marys Peak west of Philomath continued to see progress early this week.
Siuslaw National Forest sources said that handline construction was completed around the perimeter of the fire and a helicopter worked for several hours to extinguish hot spots. The mop-up phase of the operation got underway Monday.
“Crews are able to put water directly on the fire through a network of sprinklers and hose lays,” said Joanie Schmidgall, Siuslaw’s public affairs officer. “The fire is burning on a steep and rugged slope in older timber, so firefighters are working carefully to mitigate snags and other hazards.”
Schmidgall expressed gratitude toward the Oregon Department of Forestry and Miller Timber Services for assisting during the initial attack to keep the fire as small as possible.
The most recent available figure for the Rock Creek Fire’s size was estimated at 12 acres.
Firefighters are also working on the Three Buttes Fire, which is roughly 65 acres in size and located approximately 15 miles northeast of Florence.
“The fire is burning in thick, coastal vegetation and mature timber,” Schmidgall said. “A hotshot crew is currently digging a fireline while large equipment is opening a closed road to better access the fire.”
Despite a cooler weather pattern moving through the region, Schmidgall said fire danger on the Siuslaw National Forest remains “very high” and public-use restrictions for fires remain in place in most areas.