PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Containment on the 42,000-acre Willowcreek Fire that’s burning northeast of Vale in Eastern Oregon jumped to 45% Thursday morning, Bureau of Land Management officials said.
“We’re getting around it,” Vale BLM fire deputy officer Justin Fenton said. “We’re continuing to patrol and monitor, and crews are focusing on putting out hot spots.”
On Wednesday, crews used dozer lines and lit control fires to help stop the wildfire’s progression along the west side of Interstate 84 near mile marker 359. This created a secure barrier between the fire and the roadway.
Thursday’s forecast calls for hotter, drier conditions than Wednesday, but the BLM said winds are expected to remain light.
The fire is burning in grass and sagebrush on public and private land. It is not threatening any structures and no evacuation notices have been issued.
The most active part of the fire is well within the fire’s border, Fenton said. The fire is consuming unburned fuel “islands” and people might see smoke from inside the fire perimeter Thursday.
Fenton said the Vale BLM has sufficient resources to manage the fire and to reach full containment, with continued help from contract operators and local Rangeland Fire Protection Associations.
Air crews have also been dropping water on the fire.
The fire was reported on private land Tuesday afternoon before it crossed onto lands managed by the Vale BLM.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.