Northwest Incident Management Team 6 Shawn Sheldon, Incident Commander
Rail Fire Update
August 23, 2016
Despite windy conditions, containment on the Rail Fire has now reached 40%. Overnight, fire lines were tested as wind blew embers across the line and firefighters worked to successfully extinguish small spot fires.
Sunday night and most of Monday saw breezy conditions but also slightly cooler temperatures and higher humidity, creating favorable conditions for fire crews to strengthen positions along the fire’s western edge. Air support has been active in helping fire crews with bucket and retardant drops along the southeast flank where west winds pushed the fire toward control lines.
Today, as weather permits, firing operations will continue along the fire’s edge in the southwestern and southeastern portions of the fire, patiently extending secured fire line piece by piece.
Mop-up and monitoring are now the focus along the western, northern, and eastern edges of the fire. Tonight, crews will begin to carefully examine sections on the north end with handheld InfraRed devices commonly called “Palm IR units” that help detect heat not otherwise visible. The southern flank of the fire is burning in the Monument Rock Wilderness but crews are prepping, extending, and strengthening positions to narrow the fire’s more active areas.
To ensure firefighter and public safety, a fire Closure order is in effect around the fire on the Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur National Forests. Detailed information about closed roads and restricted areas can be found on Inciweb (at the link in the right-hand column) and on the Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur National Forest websites.
Conditions are hot and dry, and there are now several large wildfires burning around the Pacific Northwest. Please take extra care with outdoor activity. Even striking a rock when mowing a lawn can spark a wildfire.
Fire at a Glance
Location: 5 miles west of Unity, Oregon
Cause: Under Investigation
25 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 current closure order can be found on Inciweb (see below).
Inciweb: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4914/ (Click “Maps” for the closure map)