KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Far from continuing to grow, fire officials now say that the Stukel Fire southeast of Klamath Falls has been reduced to 500 acres from Monday's estimate of 750 after the completion of more accurate mapping in the area under fire.
Containment of the Stukel Fire rose to 10 percent by Tuesday morning.
The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) reports that firefighters will be working throughout Tuesday to establish control lines on the south end of Stukel Mountain as they strive to contain the fire east of Hill Road and southwest of Stukel Road.
On Monday, air tankers flown in from Chico and Redding, California dropped 10 loads of retardant on the fire to keep it from spreading to the south and east. Helicopters also zeroed in on hot spots with bucket drops.
SCOFMP says that there were roughly 250 firefighters working on the construction of containment lines and combating hot spots in the fire's interior.
Burning through grass, brush and juniper bushes on steep terrain, SCOFMP reported that the fire has been a difficult one for firefighters to access. The Stukel Fire is burning mostly on BLM land and some private land.
Plummeting temperatures that dipped below freezing on Monday night and an increase in humidity have helped to reduce fire activity. Sunny days may hamper some of those gains, but meteorologists expect cold, damp nighttime conditions to continue helping firefighters.
Incident Commander Scott Havel reportedly anticipates containment of the Stukel Fire by October 20.
Approximately 15-20 homes on the west side of Stukel Mountain may be threatened if the spread cannot be stopped, leading to Level 1 evacuation notices that remain in effect into Tuesday.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by law enforcement.
The following are all current closures and evacuation notices:
Road Closure - Hill road will be closed from Dehlinger Road to the junction of Reeder and Hill Roads for firefighter and public safety.
LEVEL 1 "Be Ready" - There is a level one (Be Ready) evacuation level being put in place for the residences within the road closure area. Law enforcement will be notifying residents if they are in the evacuation area.