MARCOLA, Ore. — Firefighters are still trying to figure out what sparked a wildfire up in the Coburg Hills Thursday night.
Crews have been battling the Buck Mountain Fire up McGowen Creek Road all day.
The Buck Mountain Fire is corralled between two forest roads. While it was very visible for drivers on I-5 Thursday night, it was difficult for crews to find.
A large glow people reported was created by of 30-foot flames turned in to a smoky haze hovering over 18 acres of charred land.
It’s a privately-owned reforested area tucked several miles up from the Mohawk-Marcola area. Rural fire departments didn’t just have a tough time fighting the flames but getting to them, too.
“A combined effort of trying to find different routes until they finally discovered the one that worked,” said Karen Swearingen, ODF Lane Unit Forester.
Now holding at 18 acres, the Oregon Department of Forestry is moving in private contractors to maintain the perimeter. The department is down more that 50 percent of its staff since the summer fire season is over.
“Resources are pretty scarce, so finding crews, this is going to take a lot of manpower to come in and dig out at these holes and these stumps and actually mop up all the larger fuel,” Swearingen said.
That’s the plan–to put out the hot spots and soak the scorched areas.
“Roots systems go so deep it will keep smoking,” Swearingen said.
That so they make sure no sparks make it over the dozer line and torch the nearby timber.
“(We’re) making sure nothing is going to travel beyond that line, and so anything close to the edge compromises our line and could end up on the other side,” Swearingen said.
They hope the weather conditions cooperate and the burning buck doesn’t turn into the blaze it was before.
Crews say they will continue to check on the fire area until wintertime to make sure the fire doesn’t spark up again.