Fire now threatens structures, limits access to recreation site

As seen in this photo from early today, the Pole Fire has jumped the containment line. It now threatens at least three structures in nearby drainages.

HUNTINGTON — Fire crews are making good progress on the Pole Fire 10 miles north of Huntington, Bureau of Land Management Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist Alan Crouch said on Wednesday afternoon.

The lightning-caused blaze started Monday and has spread to 675 acres at 25 percent containment, which is the same as it was on Wednesday morning. The crews are working to secure firelines, a release from the BLM states.

Fire crews have been battling steep and inaccessible terrain and heavy fuel loads, making containment difficult.

It is threatening structures and limiting access to public areas. Crouch said in a phone interview that there are a couple of structures in Hibbard Creek drainage area and another in Morgan Creek, which he believes is a primary residence.

As of Wednesday morning, it was burning into the Morgan Creek Drainage toward Hibbard Creek drainage and Snake River Road.

Structures are threatened, including those in the Hibbard Creek drainage, as well as adjacent private lands, grazing allotments and power lines.

A Type 3 Incident Management team has been assigned to the fire, and the BLM has dispatched five crews, nine engines, two dozers, two helicopters and air tanker support. The Burnt River Rangeland Fire Protection Association provided assistance to Vale BLM crews early on.

The Spring Rec Site was originally being used as a staging area for the firefighters’ base camp, but was reopened to the public on Wednesday, the release states.

The Vale BLM district (Malheur and Baker Counties) is under a Red Flag Warning until midnight on Thursday due to lightning in the forecast.

Baker County Sheriff has advised that evacuation levels have been altered to Level 1, meaning residents should be on alert.

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