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Public meeting moved to Nazarene Church

The public meeting scheduled tonight, Saturday, Aug. 15, to provide information about the Windy Ridge and Cornet fires, has been moved from Baker High School to the Baker City Church of the Nazarene, 1250 Hughes Lane (the corner of Cedar Street and Hughes Lane). It will begin at 6 p.m. in the church sanctuary.

The Sumpter Valley Railroad has canceled trains scheduled Aug. 15 and 16, and the Music in the Meadow event planned for Aug. 15 in Sumpter has been canceled.

Throughout Friday, crews were challenged with extreme fire behavior on the Cornet and Windy Ridge fires caused by high winds and low humidity.

Windy Ridge Fire

The Windy Ridge Fire is located approximately four miles west of Durkee and is burning in grass, sagebrush and timber .

Fire crews worked along the southern edge of the Windy Ridge Fire to build containment lines to prevent the fire from threatening Durkee. 


Friday afternoon update on area fires

Area fires update from the Bureau of Land Management and InciWeb:

New Fire Near Ironside, Windy Ridge, Cornet and Eagle Complex Continue Push

Dry winds Friday afternoon continued to fan the flames of Baker County wildfires.  Updates gathered from fire information websites are summarized in the story, which can be accessed by clicking through the headline.


Effort to protect Baker County homes is a statewide endeavor

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Damon Simmons is the information officer with the Incident Command Team.

By Chris Collins

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Firefighters from around the state poured into the Baker High School parking lot Thursday afternoon with their minds set on saving property threatened by wildfires in Baker County.

They traveled across Oregon in fire engines from departments including Scappoose, Newberg, Portland, Albany, Amity, Philomath, Clatskanie, Molalla, Yamhill County, Columbia River and Mist-Birkenfeld.

Fires continue to rage

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald The Windy Ridge fire torches trees southeast of Baker City Thursday afternoon.

Structures, Including Homes, Burned In Stices Gulch As Multiple Wildfires Ravage Baker County

Two of the bigger fires in Baker County in the past quarter century raced across thousands of acres of sagebrush and forest Wednesday and Thursday south and southeast of Baker City. 

Highway 7 closed, new evacuations

Highway 7 has been closed between Baker City and Sumpter this afternoon and some residents along Highway 7 are being asked to leave their homes.

A Level 3 evacuation notice has been issued for residents living on the east side of California Gulch to the highway and from Old Auburn Road south to the highway and everyone living within those boundaries, said Damon Simmons, spokesman for the structural firefighting Incident Command Team.

Unknown number of structures burned in Stices Gulch

Damon Simmons, the information officer with the firefighting team that arrived Thursday to help protect structures from the Windy Ridge and Cornet fires, said this morning that an unknown number of structures in Stices Gulch burned on Thursday.

Simmons said crews will assess the situation later today.

See more in today's issue of the Baker City Herald. 

Commissioner Mark Bennett talks about efforts to protect Stices Gulch homes

Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett said at 7:45 p.m. today that he had recently talked with aerial firefighting officials within the past hour who said the Windy Ridge fire has not jumped Interstate 84 southeast of Baker City, although south winds continue to push the blaze toward the north.

“They’re having a heck of a time with it,” Bennett said. “The fire behavior was just unbelievable."

Gov. invokes conflagration act, structure protection crews heading to Baker County

Gov. Kate Brown has invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act for the Cornet fire in Baker County, and teams of fire crews that specialize in protecting homes and other structures are en route and scheduled to arrive this afternoon, said Jason Yencopal, Baker County Emergency Management director.

As of 8 a.m., the county did not have any information about whether any structures have been damaged by the Windy Ridge or Cornet fires, Yencopal said.

Cornet fire crosses Dooley Mountain Highway summit

The Cornet fire has crossed the Dooley Mountain Highway summit as of 4 p.m., said Jamie Knight, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Knight said it’s not clear how far to the north the fire has moved. The fire’s spread in that direction prompted Baker County officials to ask residents in Stices Gulch to evacuate earlier this afternoon. Most of the homes in Stices Gulch are about two miles from the Dooley Summit.

Denny Creek resident ready to leave if evacuation level increases from 2 to 3:

Leigh Heart doesn’t know whether he’ll have evacuate his home and his parents’ property along Denny Creek Road southwest of Baker City as the Cornet fire continues to spread.

But Heart still has decisions to make.

“What gets left behind,” he said about 1:30 this afternoon.

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