Shawn Sheldon, Incident Commander
Rail Fire Update
Sunday, August 21, 2016
A new closure order is in place. See box at right for more information.
According to Fire Behavior Analyst Jim Hampton, Saturday’s fire behavior was low due to the light winds and lower amounts of fuel in the scar from the Monument Fire in 2002. With stronger winds predicted for today, however, and the close proximity of timbered islands with heavier fuels, Hampton said that he expects to see spots up to one third of a mile downwind to the southeast.
The trail constructed by hotshot crews to the southeast of the current active fire front will serve as an anchor point for firing operations ahead of the advancing fire if needed.
The northeast edge of the fire is now mopped up of nearly all hot spots within 300 feet of the perimeter.
A small unburned island remains in the northwest corner of the fire. Fewer smoke columns will be produced by the northern half of the fire as the number and size of the unburned islands is reduced. For information on expected smoke conditions and suggested appropriate actions, please visit www.oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.
The spot fires along the southwest flank of the fire that caused concern over the last several days have been surrounded with hose and are being extinguished.
Roads along the west and south wilderness boundaries (roads 430 and 457, respectively) are being brushed out to provide a more secure fire break at the edge of the wilderness.
Under current public use restrictions, campfires outside of wilderness areas are permitted ONLY in designated campgrounds with constructed fire pits. And PLEASE be sure to fully extinguish your campfire before leaving or turning your attention elsewhere. Chainsaw use is not allowed on the Malheur or Wallowa National Forest. Smoking is even more restricted than usual.
Fire at a Glance
Size: 30,273 acres
Location: 5 miles west of Unity, Oregon
Cause: Under Investigation
29 Water tenders
4 Type 1 heavy helicopters
1 Type 2 medium helicopter
2 Type 3 light helicopter
The fire area and multiple roads are closed. The new closure order can be found on Inciweb (see below).
(Click “Maps” for the closure map)