HUNTINGTON — High winds, heavy fuel loading and steep inaccessible terrain continue to challenge firefighters on the Pole Fire, according to a news release Wednesday morning from Alan Crouch, spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management-Vale District.
The lightning-caused blaze started Monday and has grown to nearly 700 acres. 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.
The Baker County Sheriff’s Office has issued evacuation levels, and people within close proximity to the fire are being told to leave immediately.
As of Wednesday morning, the Pole Fire was 25 percent contained, and is spreading 10 miles north of Huntington. According to an incident report, the fire jumped containment lines and burned through the night. 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 campground portion of Spring Rec Site, where firefighters have set up a base camp, is closed to the public. The release from the BLM said it may open some time Wednesday afternoon. The day-use parking lot and boat ramp are still open to the public.
Motorists are urged to drive with caution and avoid certain areas.
“Please avoid using the Morgan Creek Road, and the Snake River Road and Lookout Mountain Road in the Morgan Creek and Hibbard Creek areas if possible due to firefighting traffic and potential fire impact,” reads the report.
Firefighters are keeping a close eye on the structures in the Hibbard Creek drainage.
Crews are mopping up the Harrison Fire, according to Crouch. That fire only reached 2.1 acres and was started by lightning Monday.