Gopher Fire update: 352 acres, 15% contained

PROSPECT, Ore. – The Gopher Fire burning in the Sky Lakes Wilderness is now 15% contained.

On September 5, lightning strikes sparked five small fires about 11 miles east of Prospect in the perimeter of 2008’s Middle Fork Fire.

Those five fires grew together and became known as the Gopher Fire, which was estimated to be about 200 acres by September 6. By September 9, the fire grew to an estimated 340 acres.

Throughout the week, cool weather allowed crews to get a handle on the Gopher Fire. By Thursday, September 12 the fire was 15% contained at 352 acres in size.

Crews recently began constructing hand lines along both flanks of the fire’s perimeter to prepare for when warm, dry conditions return to the area.

Firefighters have a backup plan in place in case current lines are broken thanks to lines created during the Middle Fork Fire, which have recently been re-opened as contingencies.

With a high-pressure system moving in, warmer temperatures and lower humidity levels are expected. Fire Behavior Analyst Steve Ziel said, “Today [Thursday] we anticipate a slight increase in fire behavior and an increase in smoke, as the fine dead fuels will ignite with the warming and drying conditions.”

371 people are assigned to work on the fire.

Trail closures in the area are in effect. You can view the entirety of the closure order at the RRSNF website.

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