Despite abundant lightning Thursday and Friday and at least 34 new fires reported, fire crews quickly responded and contained most of the fires at less than one-tenth of an acre.

With the cool, wet weather, most firefighters and equipment were released from the one large blaze, the Cow Fire southeast of Prairie City, Monday.

On Tuesday, command of the Cow Fire transitioned to a local Type 3 incident management team. This team will complete the repair of firelines to prepare the ground for wet weather and prevent erosion by building water bars to divert runoff from the firelines.

On Monday, crews completed removing pumps, hoses and other firefighting equipment. Chipping cleared roadside vegetation is complete.

The road closure has been lifted. Road barriers and closure points were being removed Tuesday.

The area closure will remain in place for an extended period. It is not safe to travel off-road in recently burned areas. Trees killed or weakened by the fire will continue to fall for months, even during calm weather. There are hidden burned-out areas beneath the surface that are not evident, and the ground may collapse under foot.

Firefighters assisted in the initial attack of a new fire in the Prairie Hill area east of the Cow Fire over the weekend. Rainfall and high humidity are increasingly penetrating deeply into burnable material. Isolated concentrations of heavy fuels will continue to smolder and produce smoke.

Most firefighters and equipment were being released Monday. Remaining resources include three hand crews, two engines and two excavators.

Monday was the last day of updates for the Cow Fire Facebook page. Additional updates may be posted on the Malheur National Forest Facebook page.

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