PENDLETON, Ore. (Oct. 5, 2022 – 4 p.m.) —Umatilla National Forest officials remind visitors that smoke may continue to be visible in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness from the Slick Ear Fire, which is gradually burning in heavy fuels near the Slick Ear Trail #3104 on the Pomeroy Ranger District.
The Slick Ear Fire was discovered on Sept. 14 following a lightning storm approximately 28 miles northeast of Elgin, Oregon. Firefighters attempted to staff the fire during initial attack, but they were unable to safely engage the fire from the ground because of the difficult terrain. Since reported, the fire has been creeping and smoldering through a mixture of brush, heavy timber, and snags (dead or burned trees). Due to the heavy fuels, the fire has periodically produced visible smoke.
The 243-acre fire is burning in steep and rugged terrain east of the Slick Ear Trail #3104 and about a mile north of the Wenaha River. Over the past couple of weeks, the fire has gradually backed downhill in these heavy fuels. Firefighters have monitored the fire progression and used helicopters to slow fire spread if needed. The hazardous terrain has prevented firefighters from staffing the fire from the ground.
Given the time of year, remote location, hazardous terrain, low fire behavior, and favorable weather conditions (particularly cool nighttime temperatures with higher relative humidity), fire managers will continue to monitor fire progression with aerial reconnaissance and use aircraft to slow fire spread if needed. This will be the final recurring update unless conditions change.
Umatilla National Forest officials remind visitors that smoke may continue to be visible in the area. The public is asked to use caution when entering the area and be aware of increased hazards, particularly snags and smoky conditions.
The current fire danger rating on the Umatilla National Forest is MODERATE and Public Use Restrictions involving chainsaw use are in effect.
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 at http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/.
Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.