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Thursday update: Area remains closed for Harrison Fire

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on August 23, 2018 1:38PM

Firefighters continue to make progress in containing wildfires caused by the recent thunderstorms, according to a Umatilla National Forest press release. Starting today, fire updates will be released once a day unless conditions change.

The Harrison Fire remains 30 acres and is and 50% contained. The fire is located 16 miles west of Sumpter, Oregon, within the Greenhorn unit of the North Fork John Day Wilderness on the North Fork John Day Ranger District. This section of the wilderness is remote and in steep terrain, making access difficult. Firefighters are beginning hose lay around the fire today to support mop up activities. Mopping up includes searching for pockets of heat, digging out the heat source, and cooling with water. One new spot fire was discovered this morning, estimated at a tenth of an acre in size. Firefighters engaged and contained the spot fire. Resources on scene include 65 firefighters. An area, trail and road closure within the vicinity of the Harrison Fire is in effect. A map and detailed description of the area closure is available at any Umatilla National Forest office and at the bottom of this news release.

Firefighters’ suppression efforts continue to hold on the Gilman Fire, located near Gilman Flats on the Heppner Ranger District and Prineville Bureau of Land Management lands that are protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The fire is 954 acres in size and 70% contained. Fire behavior was miniminal yesterday, with the fire smoldering, creeping and spots of isolated heat within the interior. This allowed firefighters to focus efforts on securing the perimeter of the fire to reduce the risk of fire moving outside of the containment lines and building fire line in the Ditch Creek area to keep the fire out of the bottom of the drainage. Today firefighters will continue to secure the perimeter of the fire to reduce the risk of the fire moving outside the perimeter lines. Currently 160 people are assigned to the fire, including several resources from the Oregon Department of Forestry. Grant County has issued a Level 1 Pre-Evacuation Fire Advisory for the area of Monument, Ritter, Dale and Middle and North Fork communities. The advisory area extends from Hwy 402, north to the Grant County line, and Hwy 395 west to the Grant County line. Residents in the area should make advance preparations and stay tuned for further updates. For additional information on this pre-evacuation fire advisory please visit http://gcoregonlive2.com/ and click on the emergency alert system link.

Firefighters continue mop up activities on the Low Ridge Fire, located within the Mill Creek Watershed near Indian Ridge approximately 17 miles SE of Walla Walla, Washington on the Walla Walla Ranger District. Fire managers anticipate that mop up activities will take several days to secure, due to the steep, rocky terrain in the area and heavy brush and snags. Resources on scene include five smokejumpers and a 10-person hand crew from Alaska.

Weather conditions continue to be warm and dry over the next few days. Fire officials want to remind everyone that the current fire danger rating remains at EXTREME and Public Use Restrictions involving campfires and chainsaw use are in effect.

Similar restrictions may be in effect on State and private lands protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA-DNR). More information can be found on the WA-DNR website at: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/.

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 http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/.

Harrison Fire Closure Description

The area closure includes:

The area within the following boundary: starting at the Ben Harrison Trail Head, heading generally north along the North Fork John Day (NFJD) Wilderness boundary towards the junction of where the NFJD Wilderness boundary intersects the Lost Creek Trail (National Forest System Trail (NFST) 3002), then south along NFST 3002 to the junction of the Ben Harrison Trial (NFST 3173), then east along the NFST 3173 back to the Ben Harrison Trail Head. The area is approximately 6,575 areas in size. Prohibited access does not apply to use of Forest Road No. 10.

The trail closures include:

National Forest System Trail (NFST) 3173 - East of the Ben Harrison Trailhead on the Ben Harrison Trial to the Junction of NFST 3002 of Lost Creek Trail

National Forest System Trail (NFST) 3002 - Lost Creek Trail south of the Lost Creek Saddle Camp Trailhead

Wheeler and Gilliam county fires

There will be a community meeting tonight at the Condon Fire Station, 220 N. Main Street, at 5:30 p.m. Last night firefighters continued to mop up and patrol the firelines around the Stubblefield Fire, looking for, and extinguishing any smoke or fire near the fireline. Today, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal Incident Management Team will be returning to their home jurisdictions, due to the diminished risk to homes in Gilliam County. The wildland incident management team, NW Team 7, will continue to work with local structural firefighters, as needed, to manage the fires. This afternoon, for the Stubblefield and Lonerock Fires, there is a Fire Weather Watch for high winds, low relative humidity, and high temperatures, which could test the firefighting efforts.

Stubblefield Fire (now includes Seale Fire) – The fire is currently 70% contained and is 57,703 acres (combined acreage between Stubblefield and Seale Fires). The fire was active yesterday on the far western flank, crossing Buckskin Canyon, and currently is holding at the ridge above Buckskin Canyon where there is a containment line. The fire remains on the east side of the John Day River. All other established containment lines held, and crews continued to mop up any hot spots.

Lonerock Fire – This fire is now 75% contained and did not grow yesterday. The fire size remains at 5,056 acres. Crews mainly worked the southeastern flank of the fire yesterday to continue to strengthen the remaining fireline. Most remaining smoke and torching was on the interior part of the fire, away from the fire edge.

Jennie’s Peak – This fire is 65% contained and 39,000 acres. Last night the fire was active in the northeast flank, with a 70 acre spot fire. There is fireline around the spot, and crews will continue to work on improving the fireline today. Burnout will continue as firefighting efforts and weather allow, steering the fire towards the old Porcupine Fire burn from both the east and west. The fire continues to hold along the John Day River, staying north and east of the river.

Yesterday, all Level 3 evacuations were reduced to Level 2, and Level 2 evacuations were reduced to Level 1. Evacuation levels will continue to be evaluated daily.


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