Firefighters contained multiple spot fires outside of the boundary of the 5,500-acre Cow Fire 15 miles southeast of Prairie City Thursday.
Resulting from the fire’s rapid expansion to the southeast on Wednesday, firefighters found spot fires as far as 1 mile outside the primary containment line, according to a press release from the Type 2 Incident Management Team.
Thunderstorms brought rainfall ranging from .01 inches to .2 inches across the fire area. While lighter fuels such as grass and small branches are unlikely to carry fire early in the day Friday, the heavier concentrations of dead and downed trees are expected to be receptive to the fire.
By afternoon, high pressure and warmer drier weather will begin to build over the area. The Incident Management Team is prepared to initial attack new fires in the vicinity of the Cow Fire and to support other efforts in the area if requested by local agencies.
Thursday afternoon, a firefighter was struck by a falling snag and flown to a hospital for evaluation. His injuries were not severe, and he was released.
Primary control lines and landscape features remain in place on all flanks. Firefighters will continue to take advantage of opportunities to control the intensity and rate of spread as the fire approaches these lines over the next several days.
Fuel removal along the southern primary line is complete. A hoselay supporting this line is complete.
The eastern control line is mostly complete, with additional fuel removal and chipping continuing.
The northern control line is established, and firefighters will finish removing vegetation from this line Friday.
The western control line is comprised of higher-elevation areas and areas burned by previous wildfires, with limited potential to carry fire.
Firefighting equipment assigned includes 12 handcrews, nine engines, three dozers, three heavy and one light helicopters, two masticators, six feller-bunchers, four skidders and two “skidgens” (skidders with mounted water tanks).
Forest Road 13 is closed at the Deardorff Summit, and Forest Road 16 is closed between the Short Creek Guard Station (13/16 road junction) and the junction of forest roads 1665 and 16. The North Fork Malheur Campground is closed.
A new temporary flight restriction is in place as of Aug. 28. The NOTAM is 9/9780 and can be found at https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_9_9780.html. Drone use within the TFR is prohibited.
This Labor Day weekend, the recreating public is requested to use extra caution and slow down for heavy fire traffic, road closures and traffic delays.
To protect public and firefighter safety, a Closure Order is in effect for the vicinity of the Cow Fire and surrounding roads. The Closure Order can be viewed on the Cow Fire InciWeb site at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6526.