Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

By Chris Collins


Winds Tuesday afternoon fanned the remains of a day-old fire set to burn a ditch bank along private property, spreading flames into about 28 1/2 acres of brush and grass on Forest Service ground near Phillips Lake.

Glen Marshall had burned Monday and thought the fire was out, bit it revived Tuesday afternoon, said Fire Chief Wes Morgan of the Powder River Rural Fire Protection District.

"It sat overnight and then the warm temperatures hit and it took off," Morgan said.

The fire burned grass and a few willow trees in bottom ground between Hudspeth Lane and Phillips Lake, about 20 miles southwest of Baker City.

No structures were threatened during the fire and there were no injuries, Morgan said.

Four Powder River Rural firefighters responded to the call about 3 p.m. Tuesday, and eight more from the Sumpter Fire Department provided mutual aid, Morgan said.

Gary Timm of Baker County Emergency Services, and firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry also were at the scene, Morgan said.

Vounteers from the Sumpter and Powder River Rural fire departments worked at the scene for about four hours. The Forest Service crew remained at the site to check on the smoldering remains of the fire.

Afternoon wind gusts caused some minor problems for the firefighters, and one engine became mired in the soft ground and had to be winched out, Morgan said.

Otherwise, the firefighting effort went well, he said.

He cautioned landowners to be vigilant during springtime burning and to ensure that fires are out before leaving them unattended.

More volunteer firefighters are always needed, as well, he said.

"Be careful and volunteer," Morgan urged.