At approximately 4:15 pm, Tuesday afternoon, the Douglas Forest Protective Association responded to a reported natural cover fire located approximately 5 miles south of Elkton, along Highway 138 West, near milepost 6. DFPA had an engine on scene of the fire within 5 minutes of the initial call and reported that the fire was burning on both sides of Highway 138 West and was approximately 2 acres in size. Crews stopped the fires spread on the east side of Highway 138 W, but the fire continued burning up the steep hillside on the west side of the highway, through grass, brush, reprod, and timber at a moderate rate of spread. Several structures were threatened by the fire, but no damage was reported. DFPA utilized three helicopters, two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEAT’s) and a large air tanker to slow the foreword spread of the fire while ground crews and bulldozers worked to create fire trails.
As of 10:00 pm, Tuesday evening, the Highway 138 West fire was estimated at 60 acres in size and has a fire trail around the entire fire. Portions of the fire trail include indirect fire line, meaning that there is still areas of unburned fuel between the edge of the fire and the created fire trails. Crews will work through the night to construct more direct fire trails along the edge of the fire itself and begin mopping up hot spots which could threaten the line.
ODOT has closed Highway 138 West near the fire to all through traffic, but plans on reopening one lane of the highway through the fire area at 4:00 am, Wednesday morning, with flaggers.
The cause of the Highway 138 West fire is currently under investigation. Anyone with information regarding the start of the fire is asked to contact the Douglas Forest Protective Association.
DFPA was assisted with the Highway 138 West fire with crews from the Elkton Rural Fire Department, Kellogg Rural Fire Department, North Douglas Fire and EMS, Coos Forest Protective Association, Oregon Department of Forestry, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon Department of Transportation, and private landowners.