Crews expect to contain Double Day fire

Cool, moist air gave firefighters a lift over the weekend in their struggles with a wildfire near Butte Falls and a month-old fire that has crept into Crater Lake National Park.

Firefighters were expecting to contain the 1,275-acre Double Day fire just south of Butte Falls Sunday evening, but crews still were working on the stubborn Middle Fork fire, and the National Park Service had closed all park acreage south of Highway 62.

The closure will remain in effect until the fire no longer presents a risk to public health and safety, Superintendent Craig Ackerman said in a news release.

The Middle Fork fire has burned across nearly 18,000 acres, (about 28 square miles) including about 1,500 acres in the extreme southwest corner of Crater Lake National Park. Wind-driven embers were blown across Red Blanket Creek Thursday and landed in the park, where several spot fires began and grew together, said Ken Mallgren, a spokesman for the fire command center at Stewart State Park.

Mallgren said the fire has burned across the Cascade Crest and a section of the Pacific Crest Trail near Ruth Mountain, about five miles south of the park's southern boundary. More than a dozen trails in the fire area remain closed, along with forest roads on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

As of Sunday, there are nearly 1,100 people working the fire, including 32 20-person crews, 10 helicopters, 17 fire engines, seven bulldozers, and 20 water tenders. Fire bosses have set up a camp near the east entrance to the park at Annie Creek for some 400 firefighters who are working the east and north sides of the fire.

Forecasters were expecting scattered showers in the burn area until late Sunday, which could provide moisture to slow the fire, but the weather front was unlikely to provide enough moisture to halt the flames. Fire managers have said crews will likely be working the fire until at least half an inch of rain falls over the space of three days.

Firefighters also continue to work the Rattle Fire, along Highway 138, the Diamond Lake Highway, but an eight-mile stretch of the highway some 30 miles east of Glide that had been closed to traffic has been reopened.

Reach reporter Bill Kettler at 776-4492 or

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