The Substation fire, at 80,763 acres, is 44 percent contained, a big jump from Friday's 14 percent, a fire official said Saturday morning.
All evacuation levels have been lowered, but it is extremely hot and dry and extreme fire potential remains, said Kale Casey, a public information officer with Pacific Northwest Team Two Interagency Incident Management Team. No forward fire progress is expected today.
Access to Segments 3 and 4 of the Deschutes River is reopened, but the new normal for the river for a year or so, he said, will be vegetation loss.
While Wednesday and Thursday saw very active fire behavior, there was very minimal fire behavior Friday. Only a few areas are left without controlled firelines and the forward progress of the fire has been stopped.
Casey said firefighters lauded local farmers and ranchers as "so skilled and so brave," saying, they "know exactly how to come together quickly, even if they have an ax to grind with each other," and when it comes to fire, everybody's on the same page.
Casey acknowledged "the gifts they have given us," including such details as which side of a particular fence to be on when fire comes.
Grassland fires are "one of the most scary fire interfaces in the world," because of their speed, Casey said, and that is particularly true here given the high winds and 25 percent increase in wheat yields in the current crop.
Deputy Incident Commander for the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Incident Management Team Lance Lighty said fire lines have been "holding very well."
Casey said donations should be given to local fire departments, trusted local agencies, or the Wildland Firefighter Foundation which immediately supports firefighters and their families in the event of injury or fatality. He cautioned against supporting gofundme accounts unless you know the person involved.
Casey said a water tower was possibly lost, and crews were stepping up the work of assessing damages and will work with landowners and the county assessor's office in that task.
He said the cause of the fire is still unknown.
A public meeting is set for 3 p.m. Saturday at Grass Valley.