Containment jumps on 15,000-acre Poker Fire as wet weather moves in

The wildfire burns in the Hart Mountain area northeast of Plush.

Posted: Sep 16, 2019 5:26 PM
Updated: Sep 16, 2019 5:29 PM

PLUSH, Ore. — A lightning-sparked wildfire in the northern corner of Lake County's Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge has grown to cover roughly 15,000 acres, according to fire officials. However, wet weather has helped fire crews leap containment of the brush fire to 50 percent by Monday evening.

Crews began actively engaging the Poker Fire on Sunday, with the fire quickly growing to several thousand acres — spurred by high winds and tearing across expanses of juniper, brush and dry grass. Fire officials believe that it was a holdover from lightning strikes delivered last week.

Multiple heavy air tankers and other air support hit the fire hard, but ground crews and engines were limited at the time.

"Fire suppression resources from multiple agencies worked through the night and will continue today with suppression efforts," fire officials said in a brief Monday morning update.

The fire area did receive some light rain on Monday morning, officials said. Regardless, the fire area had easily doubled in size within the space of 24 hours, and officials reported "no estimated containment" at the time.

No structures were threatened as of Monday morning. The fire spread to cover the Poker Jim Ridge, just north and east of the string of lakes that border Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge.

By Monday evening, circumstances had changed drastically.

"Recent wet weather has helped fire suppression efforts today," fire officials said. "The Fire is now 50% contained. Fire suppression resources will continue to patrol the fires edge today and tomorrow."

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