Sunday, July 18, 2021

Elbow Creek Fire Update - July 18, 2021 (10 a.m.)

 Wallowa, OR  –  Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team 3, led by Incident Commander Link Smith, in conjunction with key members from Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Blue Team, have assumed command of the Elbow Creek Fire 31 miles southeast of Walla Walla. The arrival of the fire management organization brings in additional overhead capacity and firefighting resources.

Progress was made yesterday on the northwest side of the fire with firefighting crews constructing line and stopping progression of the fire into the Elbow Creek Drainage. Dozer operations have assisted in cutting lines along the ridges on both the north and south ends of the fire. Burnout operations on the eastern portions of the fire were successfully performed last night.

Today, crews and equipment will pick up where the night shift left off and continue to connect containment lines in open areas. Additional taskforces will be joining crews today.

Fire potential remains high with warmer and drier conditions expected this afternoon. The topography of the area acts in funneling winds – accelerating rapid fire growth and erratic fire behavior. The weather outlook for the week brings the potential of thunderstorms starting Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.

After receiving the team in-brief from local agencies, Incident Commander Link Smith noted, “this is going to be challenging, but we will give everything we have to protect the natural resources.” Oregon State Fire Marshal Chief Deputy Travis Medema echoed this commitment adding OSFM’s presence aids in, “protecting structures and further supporting the community.”

Closures: All Forest Service lands, roads, and trails within the Umatilla National Forest are closed. For more information visit the Umatilla National Forest website at

Additionally, the Grande Ronde River is closed.

A virtual community meeting will be held this evening on Facebook Live at 7 p.m. Evacuation orders remain in place with the most up to date map found on the Wallowa County Sheriff Facebook page.

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