CHILOQUIN, Ore. — Firefighters worked through the night to surround the Meadow Fire, which grew from prescribed burn operations scrapped on Wednesday morning.
According to the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP), the Meadow Fire burns on 815 acres within the 4,000-acre area originally planned for the North 2 prescribed burn. The fire is roughly five miles northeast of Chiloquin, and officials say it is still moving away from the community.
A local Type 3 Incident Management Team took over control of the wildfire on Thursday morning so that the initial crews could rest.
Overnight, two heavy air tankers dropped retardant to check the fire's growth whil crews worked to get around it, SCOFMP said. The Winema and Rogue River Hotshots, 21 engines and five dozers were brought in to help line the fire. By Thursday morning, the Zigzag and La Grande Hotshot arrived along with three more engines, four water tenders, and the Incident Management Team.
“I feel very confident this morning that the fire is in a really good place for the incoming IMT,” Assistant Fire Management Officer Evan Wright said.
Wright said that the Chiloquin District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest has a "long history of good results" with prescribed burns, keeping firefighter and community safety at the forefront.
“We have a lot of very stringent requirements for doing prescribed burns, but sometimes we begin to see undesirable fire effects happening and that’s what happened here," Wright continued. "The burn had some increased fire behavior and was killing more trees and burning hotter than we planned for, so we did the responsible thing and put it out. Did we need to convert it to a wildfire? Maybe not, because it was still well within the area we planned to burn. But doing so gave us more options to get a lot more help quickly to be very sure we could extinguish it. That was the responsible thing to do to protect the community.”
Officials said that people in the Chiloquin area may continue to experience smoke impacts.