The Cow Fire burning 15 miles southeast of Prairie City has grown to 5,171 acres as of Thursday morning.

A community meeting will be held from 5-6 p.m. Thursday at the Prairie City Senior Center.

Yesterday, a very unstable atmosphere with high temperatures and gusty winds caused the fire to expand to the south and southeast. The resulting smoke column was widely visible, especially in contrast to previous days. The fire reached the primary containment line that had been prepared along the South Fork of Elk Creek.

Thursday morning, spot fires were detected across the containment line on the southeast corner of the fire. Firefighters are taking immediate action to control these spot fires.

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 1665 Road/16 Road junction. The North Fork of The Malheur Campground is closed. A new temporary flight restriction (TFR) 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.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the fire area for abundant lightning and gusty winds through today. Thunderstorms are most likely in the afternoon and evening. This weather is expected to increase fire behavior again today.

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. Primary control lines and landscape features are in place on all flanks. Firefighters will continue to take advantage of any opportunity to control the intensity and rate of spread as the fire approaches these lines over the next several days.

Fuel removal along the south 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 north control line is established. Several additional days of fuel removal are necessary to meet the goals for this line. The west control line is comprised of higher elevation areas and areas burned by previous wildfires, with limited potential to carry fire. The fire is considered “contained” along the 13 Road from Short Creek north for about a mile, providing an anchor point from which additional containment can be achieved.

Firefighting resources assigned include 12 handcrews, nine engines, four dozers, three heavy and one light helicopters, two masticators, six feller-bunchers, fourskidders and two “skidgeons” (skidders with mounted water tanks).

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 204 Cow Fire and surrounding roads. The Closure Order can be viewed on the 204 Cow Fire InciWeb site at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6526.

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