Thursday, September 5, 2019

Incoming rains should slow the Granite Gulch Fire significantly

JOSEPH, Ore. — September 5, 2019 — Wednesday growth on the Granite Gulch Fire was limited to the Last Chance drainage, the southern perimeter and a spot fire that is being allowed to burn.

"The bottom is still slowly moving through the riparian area towards the Minam River cleaning up the heavy dead and down," Incident Commander Adam Wing said. "The fire up Last Chance continued to back down into the basin and has evened up into a nice line and the spot fire south of the Minam River doubled in size to about 4 acres."

Most of the smoke generated Wednesday came from an unburned pocket near Granite Gulch proper left behind when the fire first moved through about two weeks ago. For the most part, smoke from the fire has stayed fairly low to the ground, moving through the canyon

In anticipating of the coming storm and associated lightning, all firefighters stationed on the ground around the perimeter of the fire were brought out Wednesday afternoon.

Heavy rain can cause erosion of ash and freshly exposed soil, but the rains over the past few weeks have helped stabilize it some, said Nathan Goodrich, fire management officer for the Eagle Cap Ranger District.

"A tenth of an inch is considered a wetting rain here," he said. "Each of these light rains we've had has helped settle the disturbed soils back into place."

Heavier rains may wash out some of the soil in the rockier, more exposed areas where the fire burned things more completely, but will collect in pockets for vegetation to form.

More and cooler temperatures expected early next week indicate fire season is winding down.

"We had similar conditions to these in 2012 and 2014, and those seasons ended between Sept. 25 and 27," Goodrich said. "There's probably only one good burn period left in the month."

An area closure remains in effect through Oct. 1. The closure area description and a map can be found at

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