Friday, August 21, 2020

Rattlesnake Fire grows on the Pomeroy Ranger District

Contact: Darcy Weseman (541) 278-3722

August 21, 2020 – 7 p.m.

PENDLETON, Ore. – Hot weather and dry fuels contributed to increased fire behavior on the Rattlesnake Fire today, which grew to 50 acres after making a short uphill run. The fire, which was reported on Aug., 19, is located 20 miles south of Pomeroy, Washington. The fire is entirely within the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness and is burning in grass, brush and timber with dead and down trees.  The public can expect to see smoke this evening due to the increased fire activity.

The Rattlesnake Fire is burning in the 2006 Columbia Complex fire scar. Firefighters have been unable to access the fire due to the steep, rugged terrain and flood damage on the roads within the Tucannon watershed. The Forest has staffed one firefighter as a lookout across the Tucannon drainage to monitor fire behavior and movement. Crews also patrolled the area yesterday to identify potential containment features, such as roads or ridgelines, for a suppression strategy.

Public and firefighter safety is the Forest’s top priority. Umatilla National Forest officials are developing options to safely gain access into the fire, including opening Forest Service Road 47 (which was damaged in the February flood event) earlier than scheduled for firefighter access. The Forest will implement a temporary road, trail and area closure surrounding the Rattlesnake Fire for public safety. 

With the large number of wildfires across the region, resources are stretched thin with limited aircraft availability to assist with suppression effort on the Rattlesnake Fires.

Hot and dry conditions are expected to persist throughout the week. Increased winds are anticipated again today. 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. 

Regulated closures have also been implemented on State and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in northeast and central Oregon. Similar restrictions may be in effect on State and private lands protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA-DNR).  

For more information regarding Restrictions, please contact the Umatilla National Forest information hotline at (877) 958-9663.  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 


Rattlesnake Fire, taken Aug. 21 at 4 p.m.

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