An Oregon Department of Forestry helicopter stages at the Hornshuh Creek Fire Station in Buxton. Photo: Oregon Department of Forestry

What the Oregon Department of Forestry is now calling the Game Hog Creek Fire in the Tillamook State Forest continues to burn at around six acres, though fire crews are close to the mop-up stage of the fire.  

The fire is burning in the understory of a dense stand of timber on a steep slope, making access to the area difficult. 

“We are working to find safe ways to complete mop-up,” wrote ODF Forest Grove District Forester Mike Cafferata in an email sent late Wednesday morning. 

The fire began July 3. 

Due to fire crews working in the area, the Idiot Creek area, located off of Highway 6 west of the summit, is closed. 

Once the fire is out and an investigation completed, the area will reopen, ODF said. 

“Thanks to Ryan from the mountain bike community who reported a fire start he observed in the Idiot Creek area off of Highway 6 late Saturday afternoon,” the department said in a post

Oregon Department of Forestry crews and staff from the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office have been the agencies so far on scene, with the aid of an ODF helicopter, which had been refueling and staging in Buxton at Banks Fire District’s Hornshuh Creek Fire Station prior to leaving to fight fires in the La Grande area. 

“We really appreciate the fire station there and how Banks Fire has made it available to us and other emergency services,” said Cafferata in an email to this publication. 

Cafferata indicated that fireworks may have caused the fire in a phone call, but noted that the investigation was ongoing. 

“This fire is a reminder that even the coastal forests of Oregon are tinder dry after a prolonged period of high temperatures and no significant rainfall.  While the Tillamook State Forest does see cooler evenings, higher humidities and even morning clouds due to its proximity to the coast, this is not enough to change the high fire danger conditions,” ODF said. 

Fire danger remains high in the Tillamook State Forest, a point Cafferata made in a Wednesday morning email to loggers and other industrial forest users. 

“The forest remains very dry,” he said.