The Rail Fire near Unity continues to grow as firefighters build contingency lines and conduct burnout operations.

The fire, which started July 31 about 10 miles southwest of Unity, has grown to 6,543 acres as of Thursday morning and is 5-percent contained, according to Incident Information Officer Mary Bean.

“Firefighters made significant progress Wednesday when the break in the weather provided conditions conducive to preparing and beginning burnout operations,” Bean said in a statement Thursday morning. “Today crews continue to build contingency lines, as well as conducting burnout operations. As a result, expect increased visible smoke today.”

More than 500 people — 18 hand crews, six bulldozers, 27 engines, 10 water tenders and six helicopters — are assigned to the fire burning in rangeland, grass and timber in a mix of moderate and steep terrain.

The Level 2 evacuation notice — “set” in the “ready, set, go” system — issued by Baker County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday remains in effect.

Northwest Incident Management Team 12 assumed command of the fire Aug. 1. The team will host a conference call public information forum at 5 p.m. Friday. The team will share information on the call and answer questions by email afterward. Questions can be submitted to The conference call number is 1-888-844-9904, and the access code is 2651088#.

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