Sunday, August 13, 2017

Umatilla National Forest Lightning Fire Update | Aug. 13, 2017

News Contact: Darcy Weseman (541) 278-3722                  August 13, 2017 – 2:00 PM

PENDLETON, Ore. – Friday and Saturday night brought thunder/lightning storms to our region, which were accompanied by rain. Significant lightning activity occurred across the southern end of the forest, with multiple new incidents reported to the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center (BMIDC) and John Day Interagency Dispatch Center (JDIDC). More smoke reports are expected throughout the next few days as weather conditions improve.

Local initial attack resources have been busy responding to these incidents over the past few days. The majority of the fires are staffed and remain small, less than one acre in size. Fire crews will monitor these fires and continue to watch for additional starts.

The Heppner Ranger District reported three new ignitions. The largest of these fires, the Corn Cob Creek Fire, is located near Wheeler Point and burning in grass and timber. The fire was reported on Aug. 11 at 6:52 p.m., is approximately four acres in size and is 100% contained. Firefighters are conducting mop up activities on the fire today.

The North Fork John Day Ranger District reported 12 new fires. Local initial attack resources successfully contained five of these fires and one fire has been declared out.  Additionally, four fires were reported within the North Fork John Day Wilderness near Winom Butte.  Aerial firefighters have attempted to access these fires, however they have been unsuccessful due to low cloud cover preventing aircraft from flying into the area. These fires are currently unstaffed, but fire managers plan to get resources on scene as soon as safely possible.

The largest fire reported was the North Fork Cable Creek Fire, located 10 miles southeast of Ukiah. The fire was reported on Aug. 12 at 3:15 p.m. and is burning in grass and timber. This 28-acre fire is on both Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands and was threatening nearby structures.  The fire has been 80% lined and received precipitation in the past 24 hours.  Today firefighters will focus on securing control lines and mopping up hot spots. Resources on the fire include six engines and three water tenders.

The Red Fir Fire is located 20 miles southwest of La Grande on the North Fork John Day Ranger District. The fire was reported on Aug. 11 at 6:52 p.m., is approximately four acres in size and is 100% contained. Firefighters will continue to monitor and patrol the area.
Hot and dry conditions are expected to return early next week. Forest officials anticipate additional fires will be detected as vegetation dries, allowing fires to spread and burn.

The fire danger rating is EXTREME and Public Use Restrictions involving campfires and chainsaw use are in effect.  For more information about the Umatilla National Forest’s Public Use Restrictions, please contact any forest office, call our Forest Information hotline at 1-877-958-9663, or visit our website at

The latest fire information will be posted on the Blue Mountains Fire Information Blog. If you are interested in receiving updates on fires in the Blue Mountains, follow our blog at


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