Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Wilson Prairie Fire Morning Update - July 24, 2018

Contact:  Christie Shaw, Oregon Department of Forestry
                   Darcy Weseman, Umatilla National Forest

[Morrow County, Ore.] Firefighters made significant progress overnight building fireline around the Wilson Prairie Fire, located in the southwest corner of Morrow County.  The fire originated on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and spread onto the Umatilla National Forest.  The fire is estimated to be 120 acres, burning in grass, brush, and timber.  Yesterday firefighters were challenged with the fire spotting in pockets of dead white fir.  Overnight the fire held inside the existing retardant lines used to “box in” the fire and check the spread. There are currently no evacuations or closures in place around the fire.  The cause of the fire is under investigation. 
Today additional resources are arriving to relieve firefighting personnel who worked throughout the night to stop the spread of the fire.  Since the fire was reported yesterday afternoon firefighters were able to use dozers to build fireline around most of the fire.  Firefighters will work to complete the fireline, building handline in steep rocky ground where dozers were unable to work.  Resources assigned to the fire today include two contract crews, two Oregon Department of Corrections crews, three dozers, two water tenders, eight fire engines from ODF and three initial attack modules from the Umatilla National Forest’s Heppner Ranger District.  Work will also begin today mopping up fire and heat adjacent to the fireline, strengthening these lines to reduce the risk of fire moving outside the perimeter. 
Aerial resources will support the firefighting effort as needed.  These aerial assets include two Type 2 helicopters used to drop water and cool hot spots. These helicopters are specially funded by Oregon’s legislature to reduce impacts from large fires on landowners and Oregon’s natural resources including water and air quality.  A Type 1 helicopter will be arriving today to support the extended attack firefighting for this fire.  Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) and large air tankers are available if the fire moves outside the fireline. 
Dry fuel conditions throughout the region combined with continued hot and dry weather in the forecast have the potential for rapid fire growth. 
·        Regulated Closure is in effect for ODF’s Central Oregon District.  Specific restrictions, intended to reduce human caused fires, can be found at www.ODFcentraloregon.com.  
·        Phase A of the Public Use Restrictions (PURS) for the Umatilla National Forest is in effect.  For more information regarding these and other restrictions on the Umatilla National Forest visit www.bmidc.org.

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