Progress on S. Ore. wildfire that threatened homes

  • Associated Press GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A wind-driven wildfire near the rural Southern Oregon community of Williams raced across a half-square mile and
  • Saturday, July 20, 2013 4:10pm
  • Local NewsNorthwest

Firefighters have established a line around a wildfire near Williams on Saturday and are focusing on pushing it away from homes.

The Pacifica fire threatens 150 homes. Seventy-five of them were evacuated on Friday, but residents have been permitted to return.

The fire is burning on about 500 acres, or three-quarters of a square mile.

Oregon Forestry Department spokesman Brian Ballou says firefighters are trying to push 150 feet into the fire line on all sides.

Ballou says that if the fire is still within the line on Sunday evening, the situation is “looking pretty good.”

Gov. John Kitzhaber authorized the state fire marshal to send additional firefighters and equipment.

Four air tankers dropped retardant on the blaze while five helicopters dropped water, the spokesmen said.

“It was pretty exciting until 5 p.m. when the wind slowed down and the fire got into a large grassy field,” Ballou said. “We were able to use bulldozers and cut off its head and use the five helicopters to drop great big buckets of water.”

One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, Hickman said.

About 120 firefighters planned to work through the night, mopping up hot spots and finishing fire lines, the spokesmen said.

The fire started Friday afternoon, Ballou said.

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