Scott Graves
Curry Coastal Pilot

Dry, windy weather for the last two days have caused two smouldering ground fires within the Chetco Bar Fire area to flare up and send smoke over the Brookings and Harbor area.

The flare ups pose no danger to any homes and work crews on Tuesday morning were on scene to contain the flames, said Public Information Officer Dev Khalsa.

“These are in areas within the fire’s perimeter that have been smouldering for weeks,” Khalsa said.

One area is within the Wheeler Creek area, bordered by Forest Service Road #1205 and #240, about eight miles east of Brookings. The other area is deep in Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest on the west side of Red Mountain, he said.

Residents may see an increase in fire crews and equipment using South Bank Chetco River Road to reach the Wheeler Creek drainage area today and Wednesday.

There are two 20-member hand crews, support engines and a chippper responding to the flare up.

Khalsa said data from an infrared flight late Saturday night revealed a pocket of dispersed heat in this area, caused by a low intensity ground fire that has been creeping and smoldering in the thick leaf litter on the forest floor.

Grading, repair and seeding operations are ongoing throughout the perimeter. Firefighters continue to patrol and mop up any additional areas of concern and complete suppression repair as needed, Khalsa said.

As of Tuesday morning, the Chetco Bar Fire is 78 percent contained and has burned about 191,000 acres.

The weather forecast calls for a chance of showers on Wednesday and Thursday, which could dampen the fire, Khalsa said.

“It isn’t enough rain to end it entirely; that won’t happen until the first significant rain falls,” he said.