APPLEGATE - A 150-acre wildfire, possibly started by children playing with fireworks, continues to burn in a brush-filled canyon behind Applegate Elementary School.

“We’ll probably be dealing with this all night and into tomorrow,” an unidentified firefighter said today.

The fire started between two homes behind Applegate Elementary School at about 2 p.m. today, said Division Chief Brad Barnes of Applegate Valley Fire District No. 9.

The fire caused crews to scramble as the flames crept up a ridge near Humbug Creek. Crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry and Applegate Fire District 9 relied heavily on air support in the hilly terrain as helicopters carrying water buckets and bombers carrying retardant dropped load after load on the steadily burning fire. ODF crews continued to arrive during the drops.

"We're just trying to get the fire lined around the Humbug side," said John Roeloff, Applegate firefighter. "It's big and steep."

A woman who asked not to be identified said the fire was started by “two boys playing with fireworks.”

The sheriff's office shut down the highway near Applegate for over a half hour while two large tractors were unloaded to help clear a path near the fire.

-- Sanne Specht