Monday, August 24, 2020

Meacham Complex Daily Update - Aug. 24, 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 (IMT) began managing the Meacham Complex on Friday, August 21, 2020. The Meacham Complex of fires includes the Hager Ridge Fire, Horse Fire, 896 Fire, and several other smaller fires in the vicinity. In addition to those fires in the existing Meacham Complex southeast of Pendleton, Mike Almas’ IMT assumed command of the Rattlesnake Fire at 6:00 a.m. Monday, August 24 and will manage it as part of the Meacham Complex.

Multiple agencies are coordinating on Meacham Complex fire suppression, including United States Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), Bureau of Indian Affairs, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, local volunteer fire departments, and various aerial resources. The majority of the Meacham Complex fires are staffed, most are small, and many are contained or now in patrol status. At present, the larger or more active fires in the Meacham Complex are the Horse Fire, the Hager Ridge Fire, the 896 Fire, and the Rattlesnake Fire. All of these fires are burning in rugged terrain, in a variety of fuels. Sunday, firefighters continued to make great headway in reinforcing containment lines and beginning mop up on many of the fires in the Meacham Complex. Crews continued to hold the Hager Fire to an estimated 50-60 acres, further improving containment lines around the fire’s perimeter, working to cool hot spots along the fire’s eastern flank, as well as mopping up along the perimeter. Despite heavy fuels around the fire’s southeastern perimeter, crews working on the Horse Fire secured anchor points, roughed in containment lines, and aided by air resources, continued to hold the fire at approximately 100 acres. Firefighters working on the 896 Fire have constructed handline around much of the fire and worked to both improve the line constructed thus far and also to contain a small spot fire which they found Sunday across handline along the northeast corner of the fire. The 896 Fire is now estimated to be approximately 35 acres. Smokejumpers working on the Grey Rock Fire have completed suppression activities on that fire. The Grey Rock Fire and several smaller fires already contained (Banjo, Huckleberry, Hellhole, 874) are now considered “out.”

Monday, hand crews will continue to aggressively work to contain the Hager Ridge, Horse, and 896 fires, further improving containment lines and beginning to mop up wherever they have been able to establish those containment lines. Firefighters working on the Meacham Complex fires will be supported by air resources as they are available.

The Rattlesnake Fire is burning on the Pomeroy Ranger District in Washington, approximately twenty miles south of Pomeroy and thirteen miles southeast of Dayton. Due to the distance of the Rattlesnake Fire from the other Meacham Complex fires, some IMT members will move closer to the fire- likely in or near Dayton. The Rattlesnake Fire is currently estimated at approximately 300-400 acres and is burning southward into the Tucannon Wilderness. Fire managers are currently developing a suppression strategy. However, limited access (because of spring 2020 flooding) is hampering some efforts, and the local District is trying to complete temporary repairs to improve firefighter access to the fire.

Resources Threatened: One structure is currently threatened by the Horse Fire, and falling or rolling debris around the 896 Fire continues to be a concern along the Union Pacific Railroad line in that vicinity. Additionally, many of the fires pose potential threats to significant cultural and natural resources, and fire managers are actively working with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) to protect these resources.

Evacuations and Closures: Currently there are no evacuations or area closures in place; however, a portion of FSR3128 is closed due to safety concerns. Please follow posts on for the latest updates.

Weather & Fuel Conditions: There is a RED FLAG warning in effect today around the fire area, related to high temperatures, low humidity, and the potential for gusty winds associated with thunderstorms.

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