Saturday, August 5, 2017

Wildfire Updates: Bear Butte Fire on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

BAKER CITY, Ore. – The Bear Butte Fire burning on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is approximately 10% contained as of Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017 at Noon.  The fire has been burning within a mile northeast of Anthony Lakes Recreation Area and is currently reported at approximately 500 acres (adjusted down with more accurate mapping following the previously-reported estimate of 700 acres).

The fire is currently moving to the east, away from the Anthony Lakes Recreation Area – and away from associated campgrounds, cabins, trailheads, and the Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort.  Fire lines have been established along the northwest corner of the Bear Butte Fire, limiting fire spread toward the Anthony Lakes Recreation Area.  The fire is currently being held on the north side of the Anthony Lakes Highway, FS Road 73. 

FS Road 73 is closed between the North Fork John Day Campground on the west and the National Forest boundary on the east.  FS Road 43 is also closed north of the Anthony Lakes Highway and up to the intersection with FS Road 4350.  A fire area closure is being established and will be posted later today on InciWeb (

The public is encouraged to avoid the area to allow for firefighting operations and provide for responder safety.  Campers, recreationists, and private land owners who have evacuated the area and left behind personal belongings are advised to monitor InciWeb ( for updates regarding future public access.  The Forest Service expects the current road closures to continue until further notice to ensure public and firefighter safety, as well as access for firefighting operations.

The Bear Butte Fire was discovered at approximately 2:00 p.m. on August 4th, 2017.  Interagency partners – including the Forest Service, Baker County, Rural Fire Departments, and the Oregon Department of Forestry – have been fighting the fire with heavy use of air resources, along with fire engines, bulldozers, and hand crews.  Due to the growing complexity of the Bear Butte Fire, the Forest Service has ordered a Type 2 Incident Management Team, which will arrive today and take over local command of the fire beginning on Sunday, August 6th, at 6:00 a.m.

Fire crews around the region are currently responding to multiple incidents.  Public Use Restrictions remain in effect on both public and private lands, and fire danger is “extreme.”  Please check for current information on fire restrictions in the region.


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