Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Umatilla National Forest Lightning Fire Update

9:30 a.m.

PENDLETON, Ore. –Additional new fires have been detected across the Forest following yesterday’s thunderstorms. Significant lightning activity occurred across much of the Forest, with multiple new incidents on the Umatilla National Forest reported to the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center (BMIDC) and John Day Interagency Dispatch Center (JDIDC). More smoke reports are expected throughout the next few days as weather conditions continue to stay hot and dry.
Local initial attack resources have been busy responding to these incidents. The majority of the fires are staffed and remain small, less than one acre in size. Fire crews will monitor these fires and continue to watch for additional starts.
The Heppner Ranger District received the most significant fire activity with 12 new fires reported. Late afternoon downslope winds increased fire behavior across the district. Numerous new starts were reported near the Alder Creek Skookum Trailhead, approximately two miles east of Tupper Guard Station and are being managed as the HK Complex, which consists of 11 fires burning in grass, brush and timber. The total acreage of all the fires within the HK Complex is approximately 185 acres. The largest of the fires within the complex is estimated at 100 acres. A local Type 3 incident management team out of John Day, Oregon, will take command of the fire today at 6 p.m. and an incident command post will be set up at the Morrow County OHV Park. Current resources on scene include one 20-person hotshot crew, nine 20-person hand crews, 15 engines, and one skidgeon. Additional resources are on order. Today firefighters will continue to complete direct line construction, where terrain and fuels allow for crews to safely engage, while utilizing aircraft to slow fire spread and cool hotspots within the fire perimeter.  Crews will also work to locate and staff remaining fires that could not be located or staffed yesterday. 
The Rocky Flats Fire is also located on the Heppner Ranger District and is approximately 13 miles northeast of Spray, Oregon. The 49-acre fire was reported on Aug. 5 at 9:48 a.m. and is burning in grass, timber and juniper. The fire is 100% lined. Resources on scene include two hand crews, four engines, a skidgeon and a dozer. Today’s suppression strategy is to continue to secure the perimeter of the fire, where terrain and fuels allow for crews to safely engage, while utilizing aircraft to slow fire spread and cool hotspots within the fire perimeter.
The North Fork John Day Ranger District reported one new fire at two acres near Wolf Springs, approximately five miles west of Ukiah. Local initial attack resources will work to build containment lines today.
The Pomeroy Ranger District picked up one new fire. The Bucket Springs Fire is located near Saddle Butte, approximately 6 miles north of Troy, Oregon. The fire is located in rugged terrain and burning in grass and timber. The fire is estimated at 8 acres and currently staffed with local initial attack firefighters, six smokejumpers and four rapellers.
The Walla Walla Ranger District reported seven new fires all located near Long Meadows and Elk Flat, approximately 30 miles northeast of Elgin, Oregon. The majority of the fires are staffed and remain small, less than a quarter acre in size. Fire crews will continue engaging these fires today and watch for additional starts.
Hot and dry conditions are expected to persist throughout the week. Additional thunderstorms are forecasted for Saturday.
Fire officials want to remind everyone that the current fire danger rating remains at HIGH and Public Use Restrictions involving chainsaw use are in effect.
Similar restrictions may be in effect on State and private lands protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA-DNR).  More information can be found on the WA-DNR website at: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/.  
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 http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/.
Photo: HK Springs Fire within the HK Complex - taken Aug. 5, 2019.

Photo: Bucket Springs Fire, taken Aug. 5, 2019.

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