Friday, July 16, 2021

Elbow Creek Fire Evening Update - July 16, 2021

Media Contacts:

Darcy Weseman, Umatilla National Forest, (541) 215-2224
Christie Shaw, Oregon Department of Forestry (Central OR District), (541) 263-0661
Larisa Bogardus, Vale District Bureau of Land Management, (541) 523-1407
Acacia Roberts, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, (541) 519-8051

July 16, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.

PENDLETON, LA GRANDE, VALE, and BAKER CITY, Ore. - Firefighters battled winds and low humidity on the Elbow Creek Fire today, located in the Grande Ronde River drainage near Mud Springs, approximately 31 miles southeast of Walla Walla, Washington. The fire is burning on both sides of the Grande Ronde River and is on or threatening Umatilla National Forest lands, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest lands, Vale District Bureau of Land Management lands and Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands.

Winds and hot temperatures contributed to active fire behavior and growth today, as the Elbow Creek Fire burned to the northeast, south and west. With threats to nearby communities, helicopters and air tankers were utilized to slow the spread of the fire to the north and south while crews aided in structure protection. Erratic winds caused the fire to spot on the western edge and it has crossed Grossman Creek. Firefighters worked the northwest side of the fire to keep it from spreading into Elbow Creek and progressing further through the Grande Ronde River drainage. Heavy airtankers supported efforts to limit the fire spread on the south on private ownership and firefighters were able to hold the fire north of Sickfoot Road. 

The Wallowa County Fire Defense Board Chief, Paul Karvoski, has sent a conflagration request to the Governor’s Office for additional resources to support structure protection work with suppression efforts.  The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office is surging resources to assist the local fire agencies. Firefighters are actively working to stop the fire and will go back through to assess structure or property losses when the fire spread has been stopped.

The Elbow Creek Fire was reported on Thursday, July 15 and is now estimated to have burned 10,000 acres. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Numerous resources are aiding in firefighting efforts, including landowners, private operators, and various federal and state resources (hand crews, dozers, multiple engines and water tenders).  The fire is currently being staffed by a Type 3 Northeast Oregon Interagency Management Team. The Forest has ordered the Oregon Department of Forestry Team 3 Type 1 Incident Management Team and will inbrief the team on Saturday.

The Level 3 evacuation notice is still in effect for community members that live at Eden Bench and Troy, as well as along Wild Cat Road (also known as Wallupa Road), Powwatka Road and the 500/501 Road up to the 763 Road.  A Level 3 means those within the evacuation area should leave immediately. A Level 1 evacuation notice is in effect for Roy Flat and the 603 road. Additional information regarding evacuations is available through the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office at (541) 426-3131 or by monitoring the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office Facebook. 

Hot and dry conditions are expected to persist throughout the week. Fire officials want to remind everyone that the current fire danger rating remains at EXTREME

Due to extreme wildfire activity and the concern for the safety of the public the entirety of the Umatilla National Forest has been temporarily closed. Additional information regarding this area closure is available at: 
The latest fire information can be found by visiting the Blue Mountains Fire Information Blog ( 


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