Blaze near Butte Falls at 50 acres

Investigators are working to determine the cause of a 50-acre forest fire outside of Butte Falls that broke out Sunday.

Smoke first was reported at 1:18 p.m., leading crews to find the fire in heavily forested land about seven miles east of Butte Falls, near Rancheria Road, according to Oregon Department of Forestry spokesman Brian Ballou.

Ballou said the fire grew to about 50 acres before crews were able to build a wet line, or bulldozer line, along the perimeter.

Two 20-man crews and one 10-man crew were working on the fire, while three bulldozers, two air tankers, and three helicopters with buckets were being used to dump water and fire retardant throughout the afternoon. "It adds up to about 60 or 70 people out here," said Ballou, who expected another crew to head out and continue to fight the fire overnight.

"It's going to take all night to get this calmed down."

The bulldozers had dug a line around 75 percent of the fire by 6 p.m., and fire retardant on the other 25 percent was holding the fire, according to Ballou.

"It's looking a lot better now than it did a couple hours ago," said Ballou, adding that crews were working to knock down hot spots inside the fire line.

The fire was on Bureau of Land Management property outside Butte Falls, and no buildings were threatened by the blaze, Ballou said. "It's all out in the woods, so there aren't any structures," said Ballou.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and Ballou said he didn't have any ideas as to how the fire might have started.

"We have an investigator working on the point of origin, but I haven't heard anything back yet," said Ballou.

Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or

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