An update provided by Siuslaw National Forest estimated the Rock Creek Fire at 12 acres. (Photo provided by Siuslaw National Forest)

The Rock Creek Fire west of Philomath continues to burn in large timber on a steep and rugged slope near Marys Peak, Siuslaw National Forest reported.

Officials said Sunday that firefighters had completed handline construction around the fire and aircraft are being utilized to cool interior hotspots as temperatures rise during the afternoon hours.

A half-dozen wildfires ignite over past few days in Benton County

Five of six wildfires burning in Benton County this weekend appeared to be under control Saturday evening following a flurry of lightning-caused ignitions, Philomath Fire and Rescue reported. A fire in the Rock Creek Watershed on U.S. Forest Service land on the east side of Marys Peak is one location where crews were continuing to…

Lightning sparks wildland fire overnight in Kings Valley

Thunderstorms that rolled through the region overnight sparked three fires early Friday, including one in Kings Valley that prompted officials to issue a “be ready” evacuation notice to five residences in the vicinity. Philomath Fire and Rescue Deputy Fire Chief Rich Saalsaa said a preliminary estimate of the Kings Valley fire indicates eight to 10…

Siuslaw’s public affairs officer, Joanie Schmidgall, said the fire, which was ignited by a lightning strike during the early morning hours Friday, is holding at approximately 12 acres, a little smaller than previous estimates of 15 acres. The fire is located in the Rock Creek Watershed.

More than 60 Forest Service firefighters with help from the Oregon Department of Forestry and Miller Timber Services, have been working the scene. Neither the watershed nor any structures have been threatened.

Schmidgall said that starting last week, several resources had been prepositioned at strategic locations to be able to respond quickly and added “resource sharing and coordination with neighboring agencies has also been instrumental to success during the initial attack phase of the new fires.”

The Rock Creek Fire is burning in large timber on a steep slope. (Photo provided by Siuslaw National Forest)

Rich Saalsaa, Philomath Fire and Rescue’s deputy fire chief, said the operation’s aircraft have been using only freshwater and no retardant on the fire with its location on the watershed.

Although smoke is visible from the summit of Marys Peak, forest officials said there are no closures or impacts to recreation.

Elsewhere on Siuslaw National Forest, the Three Buttes Fire is burning 15 miles northeast of Florence and estimated to be 50 acres. The cause of that fire is under investigation.

Five other fires in Benton County are all under control. The Starr Creek (southwest of Philomath) and South Mountain (near Alsea) fires are fully lined and in mop-up interior mode, Saalsaa said through an update he received from ODF.

The Tatum (Kings Valley) and Marys River Road (Summit-Blodgett area) both feature no active fire and have been downgraded to patrol status. The Honeygrove Fire (near Alsea) was extinguished.

In southern Polk County, the Hatchery Fall Creek Fire is also fully lined with firefighters engaged in mop-up duties.