Saturday, August 22, 2020

Meacham Complex Daily Update - Aug. 22, 2020

Fire Information Line: 458-206-6192


Incident Commander: Mike Almas, Northern Rockies Incident Management Team


Mike Almas’ Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management Team began managing the Meacham Complex on Friday, August 21, 2020, at 6:00 a.m. The Meacham Complex of fires includes the Hager Ridge Fire, Horse Fire, 896 Fire, 943 (Grey Rock) Fire, and several other smaller fires in the vicinity.

Numerous resources aided in initial attack efforts, including support from United States Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), Bureau of Indian Affairs, local volunteer fire departments, and various aerial resources. The majority of the Meacham Complex fires are staffed, are generally small (less than one acre in size), and many are contained. However, presently the larger or more active fires in the Meacham Complex are the Horse Fire, the Hager Ridge Fire, the 896 Fire, and the Grey Rock Fire. All of these fires are burning in rugged terrain, in a variety of fuels (grass, timber, and dead/down trees), and continue to be influenced significantly by gusty winds. Yesterday, crews and engine resources on the Hager Ridge Fire made excellent progress, constructing containment line around much of the western flank of that fire. However, the fire continues to burn in heavy fuels and timber along the fire’s eastern flank, and the fire is estimated to be about 50 acres. Crews on the Horse Fire, aided by air support from ODF single engine air tankers (SEATs) made good progress, but gusty, westerly winds pushed the fire to the east/southeast, resulting in significant fire growth. As a result, the Horse Fire is currently estimated at 100-200 acres. The 896 Fire (currently estimated at 15-20 acres) was also influenced by westerly winds yesterday, resulting in some concerns related to rolling/falling debris adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad line. The Grey Rock Fire was recently reported, and crews have been able to keep that fire to approximately ¼ of an acre.

Today, hand crews will continue to aggressively work on suppression lines around these fires, capitalizing as much as much as possible by improved weather conditions. They will be supported by air resources as they are available (including a large, Type 1 helicopter, as well as an ODF Type 2 helicopter and ODF SEATs- for those fires near private lands). Firefighters will continue to secure anchor points, as well as building and improving containment lines.

Announcements/Meetings: Fire managers are currently planning a public meeting for tomorrow, Sunday, August 23rd, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss fire status. Details will follow tomorrow, but the meeting will be a combination of virtual meeting (via Facebook) and in-person (respecting physical distancing standards). Anyone with internet connectivity is asked to join the meeting via a live Facebook feed on the Umatilla National Forest Facebook page. Those without internet connectivity and in the immediate areas of the fires may join us at the Wild Horse Resort’s “Pool Patio”. Mitigations will continue to be in place to reduce potential exposure to Covid-19 for the public and wildland firefighters associated with this incident.

Resources Threatened: One structure is currently threatened by the Horse Fire, and many of the fires pose potential threats to significant cultural and natural resources of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). Fire managers are actively working with the CTUIR to protect these resources.

Evacuations and Closures: Currently there are no closures in place; however, this could change. Please follow incident updates on for the latest closures and restrictions.

Weather & Fuel Conditions: Sunny and hazy with breezy conditions are expected today and throughout the weekend; however, temperatures have cooled and humidity recovery has increased, which should help moderate fire behavior and growth potential.

Horse Fire, Aug. 21, 2020

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