Monday, August 24, 2015

Grizzly Bear Complex Update 8/24/15 8:00 pm

Grizzly Bear Complex Fire breaches the Wenaha River today and firefighters successfully stop it, continue to mop up and prepare containment lines

     Elgin, Ore. – Most of the firefighting activity at the 65,500-acre Grizzly Bear Complex Fire was in the Wenaha River drainage along the southeast flank of the fire, where firefighters were busy protecting structures, clearing areas of fuels, and mopping up spot fires and several fire line breaches along those lines near the Eden Bench area. 

Nearly 3.5 miles of fire line has been constructed along the southern perimeter and officials estimate 7 more miles of line will be needed to contain the fire along Roads 62 and 6212.

Firefighters continue to work on direct fire lines along the eastern perimeter. Fire managers are locating areas where the Umatilla National Forest has completed fuel-reduction projects to assess their utility for containment action.

Firefighters scouted the northern perimeter of the fire today, looking for opportunities to tie contingency fire lines into those built around the old Columbia Complex Fire. Road 4608 continues to be improved and prepared for potential burn outs, should the Grizzly Bear Complex and Bear Butte fires eventually merge. Threatened structures in the Turkey Tail area may be treated with a spray-on, fire-retardant gel.

Two large helicopters have been assisting the firefighters today at the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire and the new, smaller Falls Creek Fire (also referred to as the Hurricane Fire) burning in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.  The new Grizzly Helibase was established near Joseph to assist with both fires.

Warmer temperatures are predicted for tomorrow.  The recent severe weather fire period will wane as a cold front moves in on Friday, bringing a 60 percent chance of wetting rain and cooler temperatures.  Though not considered a season-ending event, the rain is expected to greatly help firefighters contain the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire.

Due to the Red Flag Warning for today, evacuation levels will remain the same for communities impacted by the Grizzly Bear Complex fire. As firefighters successfully contain the fire along its perimeters, officials from the Washington Interagency Incident Management Team #4, and sheriffs and emergency management officials from Oregon’s Wallowa County and Columbia, Garfield and Asotin counties in Washington will determine changes in evacuation levels.

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