Wildfire in Eastern Oregon burns 40,000 acres, 0% contained


Smoke from the Willowcreek Fire in Eastern Oregon, Tuesday June 28, 2022.

Courtesy / Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office

A wildfire in Eastern Oregon, now dubbed the Willowcreek Fire, has grown to about 40,000 acres in its first day.

The fire started on private land near Vale Tuesday afternoon. Within a few hours, it spread to land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

According to the BLM, no injuries have been reported, no structures are threatened and no evacuations have been ordered.

Interstate 84 between Ontario and Baker City was closed at about 8 p.m. Tuesday due to smoke from the fire, but it reopened two hours later.

Crews from across Southeast Oregon and Southwest Idaho are working to contain the fire.

As of Wednesday morning, the fire was still listed at 0% containment. But BLM officials say cooler temperatures and lighter winds overnight helped firefighters position themselves to contain the fire.

“The winds calmed about 3 a.m. which gave us a good chance to get around the hot spots on the fire,” Vale BLM Fire Duty Officer Justin Fenton said in a statement.

Fire activity on Wednesday is expected to increase as temperatures rise, but winds will be lighter than Tuesday, so the fire is not expected to spread as quickly as its initial growth.

Officials are investigating the cause of the fire, which is currently unknown.