USA — The Rattle Fire grew by more than 3,000 acres Monday due to hot, dry weather, and todays thunderstorm forecasts have firefighters preparing for more extreme fire activity.
The fire burning in the Umpqua National Forest northeast of Glide has consumed 7,024 acres and is now considered 25 percent contained, according towww.inciweb.org, a multiagency fire information Web site.
High temperatures and low humidity fueled the fire, especially in the afternoon when the inversion layer lifted, according to the Web site. The fire became heavily active near the Onion and Spring Creeks in the Boulder Creek Wilderness, leaving a large column of smoke visible for most of the afternoon.
Todays weather is expected to get hotter and drier, and the National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning until midnight. The warning means critical fire weather conditions are occurring or are expected.
Timber crews are working at the east end of the Highway 138 East closure, taking down hazardous trees so road crews can clear away debris. The highway remains closed between Dry Creek and Toketee, from Milepost 49 to 59.
The fire jumped the highway Sept. 6, cutting off access to Diamond Lake and Crater Lake. There is no estimated time for reopening, but officials report that efforts are being made to open the road as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, more information has been released on a firefighter who was injured last week while felling trees.
Pilar Castro, a Wenatchee, Wash., firefighter said to be in his mid-20s, suffered a fractured skull and broken ribs when the top of a dead tree broke off and struck him Wednesday, said Robin DeMario, spokeswoman for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Castro, a member of a hot shot crew, had to have surgery on his skull and part of his jaw reconstructed. He was flown by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg.
The firefighter remained there in fair condition this morning, a hospital spokeswoman said. DeMario said Castro is expected to fly today to a hospital in Wenatchee, where he will undergo rehabilitation for about a month.