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Windigo, Potter and Big Swamp fires at 1,473 acres combined

A hand crew works the Potter Fire. [Matt Freeborn via Inciweb]

A trio of lightning-caused fires burning in the Willamette National Forest — one of which claimed the life of a firefighter earlier this week — has grown to a combined 1,473 acres, but trends of cooler temperatures and calmer winds are helping crews get a handle around the fire lines.

The Windigo Fire burning 20 miles southwest of La Pine had a footprint of 1,007 acres and was 40% contained, the Potter Fire burning eight miles northeast of Toketee Lake was 345 acres with no containment, and the Big Swamp Fire burning 6-1/2 miles north of Lemolo Lake was estimated at 121 acres with no containment, according to an Inciweb update issued Friday.

Some 963 personnel were working on the three fires as of Friday. Those resources include 29 hand crews, 26 engines, 16 dozers, 16 water tenders, nine heavy-duty type 1 helicopters, two versatile type 3 helicopters and two fixed-wing scoopers.

Helped by temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s Friday, crews working the Windigo Fire focused their efforts on mopping up to about 100 feet from the containment line.

Firefighters working the Potter Fire focused on using fire strategically on the eastern and northern flanks, working to secure fire lines.

Firefighters working the Big Swamp Fire focused on preventing the blaze from expanding eastward and securing fire lines.

Lightning sparked the Windigo Fire July 30, the fire on Potter Mountain July 31 and the Big Swamp Fire Aug. 1, according to Inciweb.

Firefighter Collin Hagan died Wednesday while fighting a section of the Big Swamp Fire near Oakridge. Hagan, a resident of Toivola, Michigan, was working for the Bureau of Land Management with the Craig Interagency Hotshots of Craig, Colorado.

The Forest Service stated in a Friday update posted on social media that a serious accident investigation team had been assembled to investigate Hagan’s death.

What’s known is that a 911 call came in shortly after 12:30 p.m. Wednesday reporting that Hagan was critically injured after being struck by a tree, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. Despite efforts by emergency medical services personnel, Hagan succumbed to his injuries.

Willamette National Forest Acting Forest Supervisor Duane Bishop stated in the post that “we are working with our partners to ensure the crew is well taken care of.”

Flags in the city of Oakridge are flying at half-staff, and the city has placed a memorial wreath on its flagpole.

“On behalf of the Oakridge City Council, city employees and all Oakridge citizens, we wish to express our deepest condolences and gratitude to Mr. Hagan, his family and his fellow crew members, the order signed by the Oakridge mayor and city administrator states. ”Mr. Hagan’s service, dedication and ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty will not be forgotten.“

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.