By News-Register staff • 

Containment close on Willamina fire

As a result, officials reopened Willamina Creek and East Creek roads, north of their junction with Coast Creek Road, to vehicular traffic Wednesday night.

They also lifted the Level I evacuation notice for four cabin-like residences on East Creek, which were not occupied when the fire broke out earlier this month.

“This will also signify the end of night firefighting operations,” Sheridan fire spokesperson Wes Rolfson said. “Crews will continue to mop up the fire over the next couple of weeks, but will not need to work through the night to keep it contained.”

Crews have spent this week fully engaged in mop-up efforts.

Firefighters have to locate and fully extinguish every hot spot. That requires digging out roots and stumps or breaking apart piles of debris that still harbor burning material inside and dousing them with water until heat can no longer be detected.

Mop-up can be a protracted and arduous process, given the heavy fuel loads characterizing Oregon’s Coast Range forests. Crews will have to mop up the entire site to ensure no hidden ember has a chance to escape and reignite the woods.

Tree fallers worked the area this week as well, taking down snags and hazard trees to protect crews needing to work below. Hand-held infrared cameras were used to help identify hidden hot spots.