A lookout on Lava Butte spotted the smoke about four miles from the southern flank of the Two Bulls Fire, which is being mopped up after burning more than 10 square miles, said Lisa Clark, a spokeswoman for the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center. Helicopter and engine crews quickly put it out.
Investigators already trying to track down the people responsible for the Two Bulls fire will also be investigating this one, Clark said.
The latest fire was near the trailhead of a popular mountain-biking area known as Phil's Trails
Earlier Tuesday, fire crews had a containment line all the way around the Two Bulls fire, and they were mopping up hotspots and laying hose lines to prevent it from escaping in case winds got stronger, Clark said. Smoke was clearing, and the fire was 25 percent contained at 10.6 square miles of mostly private timberland on the eastern outskirts of Bend.
An evacuation order remained in effect for about 50 scattered rural homes, but one of the three structural fire crews mobilized to protect homes was allowed to return home, the Oregon Fire Marshal's Office said.
Fire investigators said the blaze was started by people, beginning at two locations on private timberland near Tumalo Reservoir. Cascade Timberlands has offered a $2,000 reward for information on how the fire started Saturday afternoon.
The area where the fire started has no developed campgrounds, but it is a popular place for parties, Clark said.
With no other major wildfires burning in the Northwest, fire bosses were able to get all the personnel and equipment they needed, Clark said. That included 1,018 personnel, 11 bulldozers, 77 engines and six helicopters. The costs to date were estimated at $2.4 million.
Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Capt. Shane Nelson said he and others were considering whether to lift the evacuation order affecting about 50 homes in the Skyliners Road area. About 200 other homes were under alerts to be ready to leave. Three schools in that area remained closed.
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