CHILOQUIN, Ore. — A large prescribed burn that crews began on Tuesday has now been declared a wildfire amid deteriorating conditions, according to the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP).
The North 2 prescribed burn was intended to treat up to 4,000 acres. SCOFMP said that 345 acres were successfully burned on Tuesday, but officials decided to postpone further burning Wednesday morning. Regardless, "things deteriorated faster than expected," they said.
With drying vegetation, low humidity, and increased fire behavior, officials decided to convert the North 2 burn into a wildfire dubbed the Meadow Fire. The fire is located about five miles northeast of Chiloquin, but is currently growing away from the community.
“The kind of conditions we had this morning,” says Ken Gregor, Mazama Zone Fire Management Officer, “increased fire behavior to a point where we needed to go into more of an operational suppression mode to try and curtail it quickly. To do that, we had to declare it a wildfire which allows us to bring in larger aircraft and other resources to help, like hand crews, dozers and engines.”
Gregor said that the fire is still burning inside of the planned prescription area, but more resources — particularly aircraft — may be needed to keep it that way.
Smoke is expected to continue, potentially affecting people sensitive to smoke in the Chiloquin area.