Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, August 13 2012 at 5:06 PM, Updated: Mon, August 13 2012 at 5:15 PM
The 'Barry Point' fire burning about 80 miles east of Klamath Falls has doubled in size over the past three days. The fire has now burned 29,000 acres, which works out to over 45 square miles.
Fire Information Officer Hallie Rasmussen says that so far, firefighters have been able to prevent any homes from being lost to the fire. "Currently, we have about 50 structures that are in the area, that are under threat."
Most of the home owners in the Drews Reservoir area have been evacuated. Crews were busy this morning mopping up from a fresh burn only a few hundred yards from a home.
Two miles inside the fire line, some areas look like a moonscape. Stumps are still burning, and the fire is consuming fresh timber on a nearby hillside.
Suppression efforts have been hampered by late afternoon winds that pick up and spread the fire quickly.
However, E. Lynn Burkett of the Bureau of Land Management adds that "Wind can be a double-edge sword. On one instance, it can help us clear out this valley a little bit so that we can get aircraft in. Right now, it's too smoky to bring in a lot of our really good aircraft in."
There are now over 1200 firefighters working on the Barry Point fire, which has grown big enough to merit having its own t-shirt.
The cost of suppression efforts on the Barry Fire are quickly approaching $5,000,000.
Crews are hoping for possible containment of the fire by Tuesday, August 21st.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.