Boxcar Fire grows to nearly 100K acres

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MAUPIN, Ore. (KOIN) — Crews continue to fight the Boxcar Fire Monday as it’s grown to 99,170 acres since it erupted Thursday morning.

Smoke from the Boxcar Fire on Sunday, June 24, 2018. (Central Oregon Fire)

The fire — which began three miles south of Maupin and has nearly quadrupled in size since Saturday — is 60% contained as of Tuesday morning. There are over 200 personnel on scene. 

Crews said Sunday’s heavy smoke lingered in the area due to warm air and smoke low to the ground. The smoke increased by Sunday afternoon because of fire activity on the eastern flank between Highways 197 and 97. The fire then crossed over the dozer line.

However, fire crews managed to burn out remaining fuels on the southern edge of the Boxcar Fire — increasing containment efforts along South Junction Road and the Deschutes River corridor. Crews have been using backburning and air drops with fire retardant and water. The Deschutes River has been supplying water for the air drops, but the river was busy this weekend with rafters and other patrons during the warm weather.

“They could alert the floaters if they needed to hold up because a helicopter needed to dip or whether they needed to move along and clear an area for a helicopter and it all worked beautifully smoothly,” said Karen Ripley with Northwest Incident Management Team No. 13.

There were no air drops on Monday. 

A Hotshot crew from LaPine arrived to battle the Boxcar Fire near Maupin, June 25, 2018 (Courtesy: NWIMT)

Officials said they started mop up efforts around the fire Monday afternoon.

About 50 homes in the area are threatened, but none have been destroyed. 

Fire officials previously said the blaze was caused by lightning and mostly burning in sage brush and grass along with some juniper.

At one point, the Boxcar Fire was only inches away from Highway 197, June 25, 2018. (KOIN)

Initially, officials said the fire could be contained by June 30, however, the estimated date is now July 6.

Other wildfires in Central Oregon

The Graham Fire burning in Jefferson County is about 85% contained as of Tuesday.  

It’s burned more than 2,175 acres near Lake Billy Chinook, however, there’s been no new growth in the last two days. The Oregon Department of Forestry said the Jefferson County Sheriff has lowered the evacuation to Level 1 and is allowing residents to return to their homes.

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The Jack Knife Fire is also burning in Central Oregon — not far from the Boxcar Fire. It’s burned more than 14,000 acres in Sherman County since it started on Friday.

The fire is about 65% contained.

Firefighters said heavy smoke has been lingering in the air. People living nearby have been told to get ready to leave.

Follow Cole Miller on Twitter @ColeKOIN

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