Helicopter assisting crews battling wildfire along Hwy 36 near Deadwood

Photo courtesy Megan Gerber

DEADWOOD, Ore. - Wildland firefighters are working to contain a fire along Highway 36.

Highway 36 will be closed overnight between OR 126 at Mapleton and Poodle Creek Road due to the fire. Flaggers are controlling traffic, and the roadway is open to local traffic only. Travelers should take alternate routes and expect a lengthy closure.

A 20-person hand crew and engines are working the blaze with the help of a helicopter, said Dave Kjosness with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

The fire was reported around 11:55 a.m. Monday.

The fire had burned about 2 acres by 2 p.m., and no structures are threatened from the fire.

The fire started around milepost 13.5 on Hwy 36, east of Deadwood, and burned up the ridge from there, Kjosness said.

"It's likely that it started on the road or just off the road in the ditch by some type of vehicle, and then spread to dry grass," said Chet Behling of the Oregon Department of Forestry. "Being in the steep slopes, it didn't take long for it to pick up steam and head up the hill."

The cause of the fire is not yet known, Kjosness said. He added that there is no known logging activity going on in that area at the moment.

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