CULVER, Ore. — A wildfire in Central Oregon that last week earned "conflagration" status from the Governor is nearing containment, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).
Authorities have significantly lowered evacuation order status for the area from Level 3 (GO) to Level 1 (READY), allowing an estimated 3,000 residents to return home.
As of Monday afternoon, the Graham Fire was estimated to be at 65 percent containment.
According to ODF, fire managers are now focused on strengthening control lines and continuing mop up operations. Mop-up involves firefighters digging out hot spots and extinguishing all remaining heat. Crews start on the fire perimeter and move toward the center—using heat-seeking cameras with infra-red technology to identify where the heat is concentrated below ground.
“We will be judged by how well we leave this fire for the local district and residents. Mop up is hard dirty work. But it’s critically important to do it well. When we mop up right, we can hand the fire back to the local district knowing the perimeter will hold,” said Team 2 Incident Commander Chris Cline.
At a public meeting on Sunday night in Culver, ODF reports that residents voiced their appreciation for local volunteer fire fighters and the efforts of the ODF Incident Management Team.
On Tuesday there were still seven hand crews, five helicopters, 13 fire engines, one dozer, three water tenders and 307 people assigned to the Graham Fire.
For current information, you can visit Inciweb, the national database for wildfire incidents.