Sunday, August 7, 2016

Rail Fire Morning Update- Aug. 7, 2016

Sunday, August 7, 2016 @ 9AM

The Rail Fire started Sunday afternoon, July 31, approximately ten miles southwest of Unity, Oregon.  Northwest Incident Management Team Twelve (NWIMT#12) assumed command of the fire at 6:00 a.m. Monday, August 1.  

NEWS FROM THE FIRELINE:    Yesterday thunderstorms with gusty winds and light rain impacted the fire area. The threat of thunderstorms continues today.  The winds pushed to consume beetle killed fuels burning within the interior of the fire to the south and west.  Today crews will continue extending line south to the Amelia Cr. Trailhead, as well as reinforcing existing lines and fuel breaks in preparation for advancing fire to established control lines. Crews will continue to protect private property near the fires edge.  Smoke will be visible for several days.

PUBLIC INFORMATION: Public Information Officers will be in the communities of Unity, Prairie City and Baker today to provide fire updates and answer questions.


SIZE: 10,040 acres

LOCATION:  Approximately 10 miles southwest of Unity, Oregon
VEGETATION TYPE AND TERRAIN:  Grass and timber in moderate and steep terrain

WEATHER:  The threat of thunderstorms remains in effect over the fire area for the morning hours.  Clouds will give way to clear skies with a drop in RH values in the afternoon. 

PERSONNEL & RESOURCES: 695 people, 21 crews, 9 dozers, 27 engines, 17 water tenders and 6 helicopters are assigned to the fire.

AGENCIES & COOPERATORS INVOLVED:   Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, Baker County Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Services and local residents.

Mary Bean, Incident Information Officer
Incident Information Office Phone: (541) 446-3592
*Note: We have been getting several questions regarding the cause of the Rail Fire, which is still under investigation by law enforcement. There has been no lightning in the area of the South Fork Drainage since the end of June.

The general location of the Rail fire origin has been identified. Many questions and speculations have been circulating that the cause of the fire may be associated with spring under-burning. It is clear the Rail Fire originated outside any past prescribed burn units, in fact the origin was more than 3 miles away from any prescribed burning that was conducted in 2016.
As information from the investigation becomes available, we will share that with the public as soon as possible.

Don't forget! Public Use Restrictions on the Wallowa-Whitman are now in Phase A. Please visit the Forest website for more information.

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