Cutoff Fire near Bonanza claimed 22 structures, fire officials report

While the Cutoff Fire is now gradually being contained, the latest update from fire officials indicates that it destroyed a number of buildings during the initial spread.

Posted: Jun 23, 2021 10:20 AM
Updated: Jun 23, 2021 4:27 PM

BONANZA, Ore. — Through thunderstorms and high winds, fire crews continue to build containment on the Cutoff Fire north of Bonanza overnight. But the latest report from fire officials indicates that the fire destroyed a number of buildings during its initial spread.

The Incident Management Team said on Tuesday that damage assessment teams would be going into the fire area to determine how properties in the area were impacted. Wednesday morning's report reflected the new information, with officials reporting 22 structures destroyed. It was not immediately clear if any of those buildings were homes, or how many were outbuildings.

Fire crews worked overnight to contain a 5-acre spot fire that started Tuesday afternoon, while conducting a controlled burn on some dry vegetation remaining within the primary fire area. Officials said that crews plan to work Wednesday on mopping up 150 feet into the fire's perimeter while strengthening containment lines.

"The biggest threat to spread is hot spots close to the fire’s edge," the IMT said in a statement.

As of Wednesday morning, the Cutoff Fire remained at 1,150 acres with containment rising to 23 percent.

Fire officials said that they plan to fly an infrared drone over the fire to map out hot spots once night falls, seeking out heat that is invisible to the human eye.

"Residents in the area may notice this aircraft as it operates after dusk along the perimeter of the fire. Members of the public are not allowed to fly drones near wildfires - if you fly, we cannot," the IMT continued.

Wednesday's weather was expected to be more moderate than previous days, bringing warm, dry, and sunny conditions. However, chances for thunderstorms remain in the afternoon hours, particularly to the north and east of the fire.

Level 2 and Level 1 evacuation warnings remained in place and unchanged since earlier this week.

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