Thursday, August 29, 2019

Weather causes some spotting on Granite Gulch Fire

JOSEPH, Ore. — August 29, 2019 — Quick response by firefighters on the ground and in the air Wednesday quickly contained several spot fires the Minam River caused by wind-driven fire brands.

"The farthest spot was less than 75 feet south of the river, well within the riparian area," Incident Commander Adam Wing said. "Early detection from China Ridge lookout prompted the launching of air support, which put several drops on the spots and successfully prevented further spread."

A heavy type 1 helicopter dropped water on the larger spots, while medium type 2 and 3 aircraft helped keep new spots from forming and suppress other flare ups of fire activity along the river.

"Fire growth was in the direction and amounts we had expected, with the majority of growth being on the east side," Wing said.

Thursday is expected to be cooler, with higher humidity and a 12 percent chance of precipitation in the fire area. "The wild card, of course, will be the winds," fire behavior analyst Bret Ruby said. "The good news is the thunderstorms may not be as dry as we initially thought."

The storms should clear out by Friday, leaving cooler weather and higher humidity going into the holiday weekend, he said.

In the interests of public safety, an area closure remains in effect for the area between Rock Creek Trail and Trail Creek Trail which drains into the Minam River, excluding Elk Meadows. The complete closure order, map and updated fire information can be found at

Forest visitors should be aware of the closure boundaries, and check for fire activity updates, but there is no reason to avoid the area over the holiday weekend. The fire is staying well within bounds and any smoke haze is expected to dissipate quickly.

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