July 14, 8:00 AM Miller Homestead Fire Update
Incident: Miller Homestead Wildfire
Miller Homestead Fire Update: July 14, 8:00 a.m.
Frenchglen, Ore. - A mid-afternoon inversion gave firefighters some much needed relief on the Miller Homestead fire on Friday. With slightly cooler temperatures and winds coming out of the north, portions of the fire burned back on themselves and firefighters were able to complete more direct attack suppressions than on previous days. Over 450 personnel, including a dedicated structure protection division, are working the Miller Homestead fire and will staff the incident 24 hours a day until conditions improve.
Burning activity picked up Friday morning, as flaming embers spotted across a containment line approximately 1 mile north of the community of Frenchglen. Air support, including a Sikorsky Type 1 helicopter with a 1,000-gallon capacity, dumped loads of water and retardant on this section of the fire and were able to successfully stop its progression and maintain security for the residents of Frenchglen.
To the north, firefighters experienced moderate fire activity with slower rates of spread and were able to keep the fire perimeter near the Foster Flat Road. To the east, spots of fire across Hwy 205 south within the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge were tended to individually and suppressed throughout the day. There was limited to no fire activity to the west and south along the fire perimeter.
At over 156,000 acres, the Miller Homestead fire is the largest wildfire Harney County has seen since 2007. Two structures are reported lost in the incident: one, a long-abandoned, roofless mobile home, and the other a single structure within the M.S. Davies homestead (other infrastructure in this area was unharmed). It is also reported some livestock have been lost, though accurate counts have not been confirmed. All residences affected by the Miller Homestead fire have been successfully protected and the threat to the community of Frenchglen and the residents near Harney Lake has decreased. Both of these areas are at a Level 2 evacuation notice.
A public meeting will be held Saturday evening at the Frenchglen School at 5:00 p.m. to update those interested on fire activity and planned operations on the Miller Homestead Fire. Oregon's Type 2 Incident Management Team (Watts) is assigned to the fire and will lead the public meeting and discussions. Additional public meetings in Burns and at the Narrows are pending. Notice will be given as soon as arrangements are made for these sessions.
Hwy 205 south remains open at this time, though may be intermittently closed from Diamond Lane or Frenchglen to Rock Creek Lane as smoky conditions and fire activity could impact safe driving. A pilot car at times may also assist travelers in the area. Oregon Department of Transportation's "Trip Check" web site has the most current information on road conditions within the fire area. Go to www.tripcheck.com for details. The Center Patrol Road on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge remains closed until further notice. In addition, Page Springs Campground on Steens Mountain remains closed at this time to help alleviate the congestion between the visiting public and firefighting personnel. Fish Lake, Jackman Park and South Steens campgrounds and private businesses such as the Frenchglen Hotel and the Steens Mountain Resort are open and in full service, pending access on Hwy 205 south.
Fire danger is EXTREME within the Burns Interagency Fire Zone and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level is a level two. A regulated fire closure is in effect for all BLM-administered lands within the Burns Interagency Fire Zone. Visitors should use caution when traveling through and recreating in the outdoors this time of year.
For more information on the Miller Homestead fire, call 541-589-3026, or go to www.inciweb.org.
To report a wildfire, call 541-573-1000.