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UPDATE-07/19/20, 9:05 p.m.--- The Oregon Department of Forestry says the Spence Mountain Fire is now 90 percent contained and 50 percent mopped up. The fire remains at 78 acres. The fire has now moved from a type 3 fire to a type 4.
(Photo courtesy of Alex Snow)
(Photo courtesy of Erin Lynn)
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — As of Friday morning, fire crews were still working to contain a wildfire that ignited near the shores of Upper Klamath Lake.
The Oregon Department of Forestry said that the Spence Mountain Fire started around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening. Though it was only about a half-acre when crews first arrived at the scene, it quickly spread up the slopes of Spence Mountain from its point of origin near the lake.
The Spence Fire covered roughly 78 acres on Friday morning, based on a "more accurate" calculation of the area, with an estimated 60 percent of the fire contained.
"Crews worked through the night to ensure containment lines were secure and continued mop up," ODF said. "Today the fire will be staffed with the same personnel as yesterday with the intent to reinforce lines, fall hazard trees, and to continue mop up within 300 feet of the containment line. This fire will continue to be visible from the highway for the next few days."
On Thursday there were 150 people working on the fire. No structures are currently threatened, ODF said.
"With the recent warm up and predicted hot and dry weather forecasted Klamath and Lake Counties would like the public to help prevent wildfires by following all restrictions on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Klamath-Lake District," the agency said. "This affects all private, county and state forestlands."
The Klamath County Sheriff's Office says that the Spence Mountain Trailhead system and Howard Bay Boat Launch are closed to the public due to the ongoing fire operations along Highway 140, northwest of Running Y Ranch.
"In addition, watercraft are urged to avoid the waters of Howard Bay so as to not interfere with aircraft," the agency said. "This is being done out of an abundance of caution so that there is no interference with aircraft supporting fire operations."
This is a developing story, and NewsWatch 12 has a reporter at the scene to gather more details.