Firefighters transition to patrolling Medco B Fire for flare-ups

The wildfire near Butte Falls began on Saturday, spreading quickly into the afternoon and evening.

Posted: May 4, 2019 7:25 PM
Updated: May 7, 2019 10:09 AM


UPDATE: Mop up continues on the Medco B Fire into Tuesday morning, according to the latest update from ODF.

"The containment level has increased over the past day to 92-percent, and furthering that containment is our goal today," the agency said in a post.

ODF said that fire lines held overnight and crews were beginning to pull back, with the total number of personnel assigned to the fire decreasing from 118 to 96.

"We’ve also pulled a dozer from line, and our nightshift has transitioned to patrol," ODF said.

In spite of the obvious gains, fire officials said that spot fires remained a concern on Tuesday. Firefighters will be watching for flames flaring up due to expected winds.

"The area where the fire is burning is susceptible to upslope winds, which helped the fire to spread initially," ODF said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

(Updated 5/7/19 at 10 a.m.)

UPDATE: Two days after it began, firefighters are nearing containment of the Medco B fire near Butte Falls. In an update on Monday morning, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) reported that the Medco B had reached 345 acres in size with containment at 90 percent.

"The fire line was completed Sunday afternoon," ODF said.

The agency said that the fire broke out on Saturday afternoon, driven by upslope winds that caused it to spread across logging units on private land into the evening hours.

"One of the units had been recently felled and bucked, and the other had been logged several years earlier," ODF said.

More than 100 firefighters remain assigned to the fire on Monday, working on holding and improving the fire line and extinguishing any burning material within 50 feet of the edge. Five water tenders, six fire engines and three bulldozers also remain on the fire, with aircraft available if needed for attacking flare-ups.

"No structures are threatened by the fire, no evacuations have been made, and no roads are closed," ODF said.

The Medco B Fire's cause remains under investigation, according to the agency.

(Updated 5/6/19 at 10:20 a.m.)

UPDATE: ODF Public Information Officer Brian Ballou said the MedCo B fire is still at 300 acres as of Sunday 1:30 pm. Crews said the fire is now 80% lined and their goal is to have it 100% lined by Sunday evening. Ballou said it's too early for them to know when the fire will be contained. 

Watch NewsWatch 12 at 4:30 for a look at the burned area.

UPDATE: ODF Public Information Officer Brian Ballou said the fire is 300 acres as of Sunday 7:00 am. There are still several engines on scene as well as bulldozers and one helicopter. 100 people are working on this fire.

No structures are threatened at this time and no evacuation orders are in place.

UPDATE: ODF Public Information Officer Brian Ballou said the fire was estimated to be between 200 - 250 acres as of 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

INITIAL REPORT: Crews are currently battling a 150-acre wildfire halfway between Prospect and Butte Falls near Medco Pond.

Brian Ballou with the Oregon Department of Forestry told NewsWatch 12 the fire broke out around 1:30 p.m. Saturday. 

As of 5:30 p.m., the fire is not threatening structures and no evacuation orders are in place. 

Ballou said a crew of around 30 people are working the fire, including 7 engines, bulldozers, and a helicopter. 

Ballou said the cause of the fire is not yet known. He said winds in the area are dying down, which should help with the firefight.

This is a developing story and will be updated with the latest information as it becomes available.

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