WILDERVILLE, Ore. (July 21, 2022) – Despite numerous challenges overnight, crews working the Cheney Creek Fire, located on Marble Mountain south of Wilderville, made excellent overnight progress on the fire, lining 100% of the perimeter and starting mop-up operations. Preliminary GPS mapping found the fire to be roughly 29 acres, however more accurate mapping will be required. The fire is affecting Bureau of Land Management and private land along Cheney Creek road. Relative humidity overnight did not recover as expected, and as a result, the fire remained active overnight, and multiple fallen trees and spot fires affected the fire line. Firefighters are also dealing with rolling boulders on the slope, posing a significant safety concern.
Today, resources will continue mop-up operations while watching for potential spread and additional spot fires. Firefighters have a goal of mopping up 50-75 feet into the perimeter of the fire. More than 120 people are assigned to the fire, including five 20-person crews, four engines, two water tenders, and two fallers. District aircraft are assigned to the fire and will be available as needed.
The Cheney Creek Fire was first reported at approximately 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. The ODF Southwest Oregon District Detection Center was able to confirm a growing column of smoke near Cheney Creek road on Marble Mountain, south of Wilderville. Multiple resources including engines, a water tender and a bulldozer were initially dispatched, however, due to the remote location, numerous aircraft were sent, including two Type 2 helicopters, the ODF Helitack crew in the district’s Type 3 helicopter, a single-engine air attack plane, Air Tanker 104, and a U.S. Forest Service Rogue-River Siskiyou National Forest Type 1 Helicopter.
Aircraft were able to quickly get over the fire and begin water bucket drops while firefighters continued to find access points to the fire on the ground. When they first arrived, the fire was estimated to be three-quarters of an acre. Resources from ODF, BLM and private companies began an aggressive initial attack that extended into the evening. Tanker 104 was able to drop four loads of retardant and helicopters made numerous water bucket drops before they had to land for the evening. Night resources were ordered, and firefighters remained engaged overnight.
Investigators will be on scene today to continue their efforts. Reports indicated someone may have intentionally set numerous fires; investigators will be looking into these claims during their investigation. No evacuations were ever put in place on this incident.
As the week progresses, temperatures near the fire are expected to decrease and overnight humidity recoveries are expected to improve, allowing firefighters an advantage on the fire line in the coming days. Firefighters will remain engaged 24 hours a day until mop-up operations are nearly complete.
Fire season information is available online on our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest.