BONANZA, Ore. —
UPDATE: Officials have lowered evacuation levels near the Cutoff Fire, an announcement that will allow people to return to their homes if they wish.
All Level 3 "GO" evacuation orders have been reduced to Level 2 "Get Set." This applies to areas east of Bly Mountain Cutoff Road, north to Grizzly Lane, west of Hummingbird Drive, and Forest Service Rd 3812 South three miles past Keno Springs Road.
Level 1 "Get Ready" notices remain in place for areas east of Bly Mountain Cutoff Road, north to Highway 140 and Kingfisher Drive, west of Hummingbird Drive, south to Grizzly Lane.
(Updated 6/21/21 at 1 p.m.)
INITIAL REPORT: Fire crews on the Cutoff Fire north of Bonanza made painstaking progress over Sunday night, but containment efforts could be threatened by deteriorating weather conditions on Monday.
Forestry officials first reported the Cutoff Fire on Saturday afternoon in the Bly Mountain area. It quickly spread to southeast, covering an estimated 1,150 acres by Monday morning about six miles north of Bonanza.
According to the Oregon Department of Forestry's on-scene Incident Command Team, crews were kept busy over Sunday night as winds carried drifting embers to the south and east of the main fire, igniting spot fires. Lines on the fire's northern and western flanks held through the night, and officials said that crews will now begin mopping up those areas.
Roughly half of the fire's perimeter has been lined, though containment remains at 10 percent.
Level 3 "GO" evacuations remain in place for areas east of Bly Mountain Cutoff Road, between Jaguar Lane/Raccoon Lane and Spaniel Lane/Crocodile Lane, west of Thrasher Drive. Officials said that they'd be reviewing those evacuation levels later in the day for possible change.
Despite the progress since Saturday, weather conditions on Monday afternoon are expected to challenge firefighters. A Red Flag warning will be in effect from 5 p.m. as thunderstorms bring shifting winds with possible gusts up to 20 miles per-hour. Vegetation in the region remains unseasonably dry, and the early thunderstorms could bring dry lightning before rain or hail appear later.
“We want to keep the fire from spreading today in that very dry vegetation, so firefighters will need to be very aware as winds move around and increase in speed,” said Joe Hessel, ODF Incident Commander.
The Cutoff Fire currently has a complement of 250 personnel, including ground crews, fire engines, bulldozers, and other heavy equipment. About nine aircraft are assigned to the fire on Monday, including helicopters, single-engine air tankers, and one very large air tanker (VLAT).
"They will drop water and retardant to slow the fire’s spread and help firefighters tackle any small fires starting beyond the control lines," ODF said.
A community meeting is planned for Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Bonanza and will be streamed live on the IMT's Cutoff Fire Facebook page. An evacuee shelter has been set up at the Living Springs Fellowship Church in Bonanza, offering temporary housing, meals, first aid, and a pet shelter.