Fire crews protecting historic hot springs from flames

Fire crews protecting historic hot springs from flames
A field observer watches the Moter Lode fire

ESTACADA, Ore. - Fire bosses pulled crews off another blaze to attack flames threatening historic structures at Bagby Hot Springs on Sunday while law enforcement officers evacuated people from the area.

As of Monday, fire managers said the structures were protected and the Bagby Fire was held at 7 acres and en route to full suppression.

That wasn't the case on Sunday, when crews were pulled off the Granite Fire to do initial assault on the Bagby Fire, supported by two helicopters dumping water and engine crews on the ground.

To protect the public and firefighters, the Mount Hood National Forest put a new temporary area and road closure in place yesterday.

Law enforcement officers swept the area to provide for a safe evacuation of the closure area.

"We fully understand the importance of Bagby Hot Springs to folks and assure them that we'll do our best to protect the area, and as soon as the fire conditions safely allow, recommend the closure be lifted," said Tom Suwyn, Incident Commander of the Great Basin Team managing the Bagby, Mother Lode and Granite Fire. 

The Granite Fire will be finished with mop up by the end of the day Monday, fire officials said.

The Mother Lode Fire is still burning an estimated 2,026 acres in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness. The fire may still impact the Elk Lake and Dunlap Lake campgrounds on the Willamette National Forest. As soon as fire conditions allow the temporarily closed public access to these areas will be lifted.