ODF, Tillamook State Forest, wildfire

Game Hog Creek Fire ‘appears manageable’ but terrain challenges firefighting efforts

An Oregon Department of Forestry firefighter fights the Game Hog Creek Fire. Photo: ODF

The Game Hog Creek Fire is now estimated to be between 70 and 100 acres. 

“The main body of the fire appears manageable,” said Oregon Department of Forestry spokesperson Laura Fredrickson, who noted that the information came from fire crews on the ground. 

“The biggest issue is the fire fell back into the cliffs of Elk Creek again and due to the steep terrain in that basin, we are not putting people down there as it is too dangerous,” Fredrickson said. 

The Portland office of the National Weather Agency noted that smoke from the fire could drift into portions of Washington and Yamhill Counties. 

Original story below

The Game Hog Creek Fire escaped fire lines Tuesday afternoon and is now growing in the Tillamook State Forest. 

The fire was estimated Wednesday morning to be around 70 acres in size. Overnight, crews estimated the fire was as large as 250 acres, an estimate that was reduced after ODF fire crews were able to scout the fire Wednesday morning.

“This is the recent report we got from this morning’s returning fire crew,” said ODF spokesperson Laura Fredrickson Wednesday morning.

“We aren’t sure what happened. We had 2 crews from [South Fork Forest Camp], a dozer and four engines working on it overnight,” said Oregon Department of Forestry Forest Grove District Forester Mike Cafferata in an email to this publication Wednesday morning. 

Tuesday night, ODF officials believe rising winds caused the fire to jump the control lines that had previously encircled the fire, which at the time, was six acres in size. 

“The patrol last night at 5:30 p.m. reported the fire was quiet,” ODf said in a press release. 

Sometime after 7 p.m. Tuesday night, things had changed. ODF crews responded to reports of fire spread. 

The fire is burning north of Highway 6 in the Idiot Creek and Drift Creek areas, and while the Elk Creek Campground remains open as of press time, smoke in the area may cause some campers to choose a different destination, ODF said.

Due to the wildfire, Drift Creek Road, Idiot Creek Road, the Rogers Camp Trailhead and the Fear and Loaming Trail are closed.  

More than 100 personnel are fighting the fire, with ODF crews from six districts, South Fork Forest Camp inmates, and crews from Hampton Lumber and Stimson Lumber Company all aiding the effort.

There is no indication that this fire is moving in such a way as to endanger our residents. We will be closely monitoring this fire throughout the night and into tomorrow in case anything changes,” said Banks Fire District spokesperson Scott Adams on Tuesday night.

The Game Hog Creek Fire began on July 3. By Wednesday, July 7, Cafferata believed crews were ready to begin mop up of the fire.

“We are working to find safe ways to complete mop-up,”Cafferata wrote in an email sent July 7.

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

An initial investigation pointed to fireworks as the cause of the wildfire, but the cause remains under investigation and could change.

The fire was initially reported by a mountain biker.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is known.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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