DALLES, Ore. – (Update: The fire grows to more than 50,000 ares, tractor operator killed, Hwy 97 closed, south central Oregon wildfires update)  A tractor operator has died when he tried to help fight it over 50,000 hectare Substation Four east of The Dalles, which has now also closed a 67 mile stretch of US Highway 97 from Biggs Junction on Interstate 84 and Columbia River Gorge South to the Highway 197 intersection, officials said.
ODOT said Wednesday night, the road would be closed until we at least Thursday morning and advised travelers to find alternative roads. Follow the traffic updates on our TripCheck page.
Here's an update on the fire issued just before 10 o'clock on Wednesday of the Oregon State Fire Marshal:
Substation Fire started southeast of The Dalles on Tuesday afternoon and moved further east today. The firemen saw increased activity in the north and at the southern end of the fire. More than 50,000 hectares in Sherman and Wasco counties are affected.
Level 3 evacuations ("Go") increased to include Moro; Level 2 evacuations ("Get ready") grew to include Wasco, the community in Kent and several miles east. More than 900 homes are on Level 2 and Level 3. A red cross shield opens at The Middle School at 1100 E. 12th St in The Dalles.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared an emergency due to the ongoing threat of fire and increasing fire fighting. The declaration makes available resources from around the state, and from outside of Oregon, if needed.
From Wednesday afternoon, 178 firemen from 32 agencies across Oregon focused on protecting structures in the fire line. Additional resources continue to arrive from all over the state.
A large number of flying air carriers have been used to combat Substation Fire. These include:
- Two 750-gallon capacity "Fire Bosses"
- Two "Super Scooper" air tankers capable of "scooping" 12,000 liters of Columbia River water to fire
- A heavy air tank that releases fire  Two Type 2 Helicopters
A VLAT (very large air reservoir) that can carry 12,000 liters of water was also used.
"I saw neighbors helping neighbors and firemen go the extra mile to get this fire under control," said public information director Damon Simmons. "Although these fires are terrible, they show the true spirit of Oregon and the Oregon spirit in general."
Hwy 97 has been intermittently closed. The travelers are advised to check ODOT TripCheck for current information.
Wasco County Sheriff Office confirmed a civil mortality as a result of fire emissions.
A hotline for information about Substation Fire has been established: 503 -597-8076. Further information is available at www.faceook.com/SubstationFire2018.
A press release from Wasco County Sheriff Office said alternates responded to a report from a burned tractor around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Deputies found the tractor and the operator was found dead a short distance away, apparently killed by exposure to the fire. The name has not been released in anticipation of the family message
"It is believed that the tractor operator was engaged to try to suppress the fire by creating a fire line," says a press release.
Wednesday afternoon brought words of a major power failure in three county boards that are apparently related to fire and its impact on large power transmission lines.
The fires east of Portland took out a 115 kilovolt power line southeast of The Dalles, owned by Bonneville Power Administration. BPA spokesman Kevin Wingert said the crew had restored the service the most.
The power transmitted through the line is sold by BPA to several different tools in the immediate area and it was not immediately clear how many customers were affected.
Frontier 911 reported at 1 pm that power supply had hit Wheeler, Gilliam and Sherman County.
The fast-moving fire burned three structures, one of them home, on Tuesday, Deschutes River jumped and forced expanded evacuations, officials said. It was one of several fires that caused problems in populated areas around the northwest.
OPB reported that Substation Fire had skipped Deschutes River near Sayers Road, into Sherman County late Tuesday evening. About 75 homes had been evacuated
Just before midnight, Gov accused. Kate Brown and the Oregon State Fire Marshal Office's Conflagration Act, enabling callers and firefighters from all over the state.
"To ensure the safety of local residents, and in view of the dry and windy conditions on the ground, I call an emergency declaration to make additional state resources available to firefighters and first respondents," said Brown.
A working group for Deschutes County consisting of several fire agencies drove to Wasco County early Wednesday morning to help fight the fan.
Due to the fire, the Deschutes River closed on Wednesday to launch, take out, camp and access from Mack's Canyon south to Sherars Falls onward, officials said. Boat players can not enter at this time for Segment 3 or 4 floods, as Sherman County evacuates the area.
A Level 3 (GO) evacuation message was issued late Tuesday for areas with nearly two dozen homes and later expanded north as the fire spread, according to Wasco County Sheriff Office, while others were un There a level 1 (be ready) per evacuation alert. The American Red Cross creates a shelter for evacuated at The Dalles Middle School.
Video from Sky 8 showed three structures completely immersed. One of the buildings was a home, according to the forest service.
Here's Wednesday night's update of fires in southern central Oregon:
Lightning Caused Fire Sparks Precautionary Evacuation of Lofton Campground
LAKEVIEW, Ore. – South Central Oregon Wildfield Firemen responded to a lightning fire that resulted in preventive evacuation of a popular campsite today.
The Secret Valley fire was reported at 1:11 am today about three miles south of the Lofton Reservoir, 15 miles southeast of Bly, and is currently 20 acres and 0 percent containment.
Eight fire fighting engines, a hand crew, two bulldozers, two water barges, a heavy tanker, a single engine air tanker, two scooper air tankers, two helicopters and two pilot aircraft are used to fight fire and preserve public safety.
Fremont-Winema National Forest is the headquarters responsible for the fire. The Bureau of Land Management Lakeview District and the Oregon Department of Forestry Klamath-Lake District contribute to firefighting.
Fire conductors use a complete suppression strategy to combat fire. There are structures at risk, but no damage or damage reported at this time.
In order to protect public safety, the Oregon State Police and Klamath County Sheriff Office have filed evacuation orders for Lofton Reservoir Campground and Heart Lake Day Use Area and boat launch. Forest Service Road 3715 leading to the recreation area is closed.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings and watch traffic from increased firefighters and smoke in the area. This includes State Highway 140 between Bly and Lakeview as firefighters accessing the area.
In the last 24 hours, wildland firemen responded to two more confirmed thunderstorms. This causes a total of 60 fires in the last four days.
Timber Crater Six Fire is reported on 80 hectares and currently 0 percent. The fire is located at the northeastern corner of the Crater Lake National Park, one mile south of State Highway 138.
Crater Lake National Park is the leading body in the fire and is supported by Fremont-Winema National Forest. No staff or structures are in danger. Travelers along State Highway 138 are advised to be aware of smoke in the area that may affect visibility.
Blue Creek fire is now reported on 40 acres due to improved mapping. It is located at the southwest of Spodue Mountain.
Oregon Department of Forestry responded to the fire using Fremont-Winema National Forest. A heavy tanker, five SEAT, three helicopters, 10 fire fighting engines, two water bans and two bulldozers were used in the full-pressure response. The fire is now 50 percent.
Firemen continue to keep the Holbrook fire on 41 acres and it contains 50 percent. The fire is approximately eight miles southeast of Gerber reservoir. Lakeview District Bureau of Land Management is the management office. Firemen continued their full response today using Fremont-Winema National Forest and the Oregon Department of Forestry.
The collaborations of firefighters, transmitters, fire managers and support staff from all agencies over the past four days showed an important role in the successful response to the many thunderstorms in southern central Oregon.
Public and firefighting is the top priority for all partner agency employees.
South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership provides comprehensive wildland fire services to more than eight million acres of land administered by the Bureau of Land Management Lakeview District; Fremont-Winema National Forest; Oregon Department of Forestry Klamath-Lake District; US Fish and Wildlife Service's Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex; and Crater Lake National Park. The area includes federal, state and private fields in southern central Oregon and northwestern Nevada.
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