Wallowa, OR – The water is flowing across all divisions of the Elbow Creek Fire 17 miles northwest of Wallowa. Fire crews have fully transitioned to mop-up and an increase in the number of water tenders will keep the water flowing to help firefighters soak the remains of the fire over the next several days.
The fire is 22,955 acres and 57% contained.
A 10-person crew made it halfway down over the rim yesterday towards the bottom of the Grande Ronde River Canyon in the Elbow Creek drainage. They will continue to the bottom of the canyon today to seek and destroy hot spots along the river.
The depth of mop-up, or how far crews should go in from the fire’s edge, is based on the fuels and the heat they hold. Grass for instance, doesn’t hold heat for very long, and poses less of a threat of tossing embers over containment lines in coming weeks. Whereas heavier fuels, such as downed logs and stumps, can hold heat for weeks and even months. Areas covered with heavier fuels may require up to 300 feet to assure no burning embers carried by winds over the line.
Contingency work continues on the north side of the fire with crews improving roads and removing roadside vegetation in the event a backup fire break be needed.
Today’s weather is expected to be mostly sunny, hot, and dry with areas of smoke and haze. The high will be 94-99 degrees, relative humidity 11-20 percent, and northeasterly afternoon winds from 8-12 mph with gusts to 18.
Evacuation levels within Wallowa County remain unchanged for now. Additional information on evacuation levels is available on the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Wallowa-County-Sheriffs-Office-147212815486187).