Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, June 20 2014 at 1:44 PM, Updated: Sat, June 21 2014 at 9:36 AM
UPDATE: (June 21, 9:25am): The Oregon Department of Forestry say the Bryant Fire has grown to 1,250 acres and is 5% contained.
Bonanza, Ore. (Original: June 20, 1:45 pm) -- A wildfire burning southeast of Bonanza has now grown to over a square mile in size.
The 'Bryant' fire was sparked at around 2 Thursday afternoon in the Bryant Mountain area.
"We had a logging operation up there." Explains Bonanza Fire Chief Bob Tyree. "And so we got a liner around it with the skidder, but it was so hot, stuff was blowing up, and it went downhill from there."
Jake Barnett of the Oregon Department of Forestry notes that the fire grew quickly, and continued to spread overnight...
"As of right now, the Bryant fire estimated acreage is 800 acres, burning in timber on private forest land."
The Oregon Department of Forestry's Greg Pittman adds that firefighters are battling steep terrain, heavy fuels, and limited access...
"We're getting spotting up to a quarter mile around all sides of the fire - the fire is actively burning on all sides of it."
Air tankers and helicopters have been busy targeting hot spots on the fire.
Barnett says those air crews are working closely in conjunction with ground crews...
"We're looking at probably close to 150 personnel on the fire itself, that includes different types of apparatus, along with heavy equipment."
Pittman notes that a state fire team will take over management of the Bryant fire this evening...
"We are calling in an incident management team. It's a group of folks that are used to dealing with complex situations like this."
No homes have been evacuated, but crews are keeping a close eye on several structures in the area.
Jake Barnett says crews are still working to get a line around the fire...
"So at this time, there is no containment on the fire."
The fire is burning on privately owned forest land.
The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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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.