Cougar Peak Fire explodes to over 3,000 acres in one day

LAKE COUNTY, Ore. – A little less than 24 hours after it was discovered, a wildfire burning in the Lakeview Ranger District reached over 3,000 acres in size.

The Forest Service said the Cougar Peak Fire was found at about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday approximately 15 miles northwest of Lakeview and about 1.5 miles east of Cottonwood Campground. By 4:30 p.m., it was estimated to be 60 acres in size and growing rapidly. An evening update sent out just before 10:00 p.m. put the fire at about 1,500 acres. By noon Wednesday, fire managers estimated the fire was more than 3,200 acres in size.

Crews on the ground are being supported by numerous air resources, including three heavy air tankers and three helicopters. The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Blue Incident Management Team and four task forces were mobilized to help fight the Cougar Peak Fire. The Paisley Volunteer Fire Department and other Lake County fire agencies are assisting with structure protection.

On Wednesday, a Red Flag warning was issued from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. due to strong, gusty winds and low humidity that could result in increased fire activity.

Smoke is highly visible in the area and drivers are asked to use caution.

Cottonwood Campground was evacuated and recreation sites in the area were closed due to the fire.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office issued the following evacuation notifications, effective at noon on Wednesday:

Level 3 Evacuation Notice (GO NOW – Residents should leave IMMEDIATELY.)

  • Lower Cottonwood Road north to Forest Road 3870-041.

Level 1 (GET READY – Residents should make preparations for potential evacuation.)

  • Forest Road 28, from the Forest Boundary northwest to Cox Flat.

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