It’s not clear yet what started the Cherry Road Fire Sunday afternoon. But what is clear is that dry brush and grass have fueled the flames, making for quickly changing conditions between Sunday and Monday.
The fire is near the Idaho border, and has blown smoke into the Treasure Valley. A Type 2 firefighting team is now working to get control of the fire, which is threatening the popular Succor Creek State Park.
But besides protecting people and structures in the area, firefighters have the added challenge of saving precious sage grouse habitat. The bird, which almost landed on the Endangered Species list last fall, is still suffering from habitat destruction across the West. Wildfire is one of the biggest threats to sage grouse, and federal officials have made rangeland fires a priority in recent years. Case in point: Last year’s Soda Fire burned not too far away from the Cherry Road Fire, and destroyed miles and miles of the bird’s habitat in Idaho.
Oregon BLM spokesman Larry Moore says with the sage grouse in mind, fire crews are attacking the Cherry Road Fire aggressively, and trying to maintain what they call “islands” of habitat, where the birds can live free from wildfire damage.
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