Saturday, August 12, 2023

Ben Harrison Fire Update


PENDLETON, Ore. (August 12, 2023 – 11 a.m.) — Firefighters continue suppression efforts on the Ben Harrison Fire, which is burning approximately 20 miles west of Sumpter, Oregon on the North Fork John Day Ranger District.

The Ben Harrison Fire, which was reported on Friday, Aug. 11, is burning generally toward the north and northeast in steep and rocky terrain with heavy timber within the North Fork John Day Wilderness. The fire experienced active fire behavior throughout the afternoon yesterday as hot and windy conditions contributed to increased fire behavior and growth. Firefighters, aided by aerial resources, focused suppression efforts on establishing containment lines to slow the spread of the fire. The fire is roughly estimated at 50-75 acres. Fire managers have ordered a reconnaissance flight today to look at the fire’s progression and identify a more accurate acreage.

Today firefighters will continue to build containment lines, where terrain and fuels allow for crews to safely engage, while utilizing aircraft to slow fire spread. Due to the rough terrain, snags (dead standing trees), and remote location crews are looking for natural features to stop the spread of the fire while also allowing for fire fighter safety. Approximately 80 personnel are being assigned to the fire today.

In preparation for the upcoming predicted weather and increased fire activity, fire managers are ordering additional resources, including a Type 2 Incident Management Team (IMT).  The Type 2 IMT is expected to arrive on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023.

Hot and dry conditions are expected to persist throughout the weekend. Fire officials want to remind everyone that the current fire danger rating remains at HIGH and public use restrictions involving chainsaw use, smoking and off-road travel are in effect.

For more information regarding Restrictions, please contact:

Umatilla National Forest:

Information Hotline: Toll-Free (877) 958-9663   Twitter: @UmatillaNF

The latest fire information will be posted on the Blue Mountains Fire Information Blog. To receive updates on fires in the Blue Mountains, follow our blog at  

Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at:


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