The Chetco fire is burning in rough terrain in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. [Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest photo]

Chetco fire up to 45 acres

A fire burning in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in the same area as the 2002 Biscuit fire has reached 45 acres, the U.S. Forest Service said today.

No structures are threatened, but the Chetco Bar fire, northeast of Brookings in Curry County, is proving too dangerous for firefighters on the ground, according to social media posts by the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Because of its remoteness, it likely has been burning for some time, the Forest Service said. On Thursday it was 10 acres and burning uphill from Chetco Bar along the Chetco River. Today, forest officials pinpointed the fire as roughly six miles west of Pearsol Peak and 20 miles northeast of Brookings.

"The terrain is proving to be quite challenging," the forest's Facebook post reads. "The steep slope combined with dense, mixed deciduous and conifer forest are causing rollouts below the main body of the fire."

Several tall snags from the 2002 Biscuit fire also were creating hazardous conditions, it says.

"Due to the tough landscape, there are no safety zones for crews anywhere remotely accessible to the fire. Safety of the public and our firefighters remains our priority."

Firefighters were initially fighting the flames using two helicopters and eight rappellers, but officials are currently only flying reconnaissance to monitor the fire's activity and find ridgelines that will allow firefighters to organize a safe plan of attack in such rugged terrain, according to the Forest Service.

The fire is burning in a mosaic of areas scarred by the 500,000-acre Biscuit fire and brush that has been untouched by flames, the Forest Service says.

"It is low to moderate in intensity and is spreading slowly in all directions," it says.


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