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BEATTY, Ore. — Southern Oregon's first major wildfire of the year is now largely contained, with firefighters continuing to shore up their lines.
The Ponina Fire broke out roughly five miles north of Beatty in Klamath County, with the fire first reported on Sunday afternoon. It is now estimated at 1,641 acres and 60 percent contained.
Photo courtesy Christopher Trotchie
According to the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP), the fire is now fully lined with mop-up activities continuing into Wednesday. Firefighters were able to start repair work on Tuesday, which will also continue.
Fire officials said that the Ponina Fire is burning in timber and brush, with "creeping and smoldering fire behavior." Smoke can be seen rising from the fire's interior.
As of Wednesday, there were 16 engines, two bulldozers, and two water tenders assigned to the fire. A Type 3 Incident Management Team that took control of the fire earlier this week will be handing it back to the local Oregon Department of Forestry unit at 6 p.m.
Evacuation levels in the area have been dropped to a Level 1 "Get Ready" phase, which means that residents should continue to monitor the situation and have things ready to go in case conditions change.
Tuesday's update included the news that seven structures have been destroyed by the fire — up from two the day prior — but officials said that they were "mostly outbuildings."
Smoke may still be highly visible in the surrounding areas, including on Highway 140. The Ponina Fire burns in an area with narrow roads, and the public has been advised to avoid the fire area for their own safety and that of responding fire crews.
Weather conditions are expected to be warmer and drier through Friday, with gusty winds in the afternoons and evenings.
"Fuels remain dormant and dry, meaning fire can carry quickly," SCOFMP said. "High winds are expected in the coming days which can lead to spotting and rapid fire spread even from a small fire like a campfire. The public is urged to use extreme caution with fire on private and wildlands, especially as the area is already seeing early wildfires."