Firefighters are actively suppressing a wildfire located near Matlock Hill, approximately 13 miles northwest of Ukiah on the North Fork John Day Ranger District of the Umatilla National Forest.
The Matlock Fire, which is currently estimated at 60 acres, was reported July 28 at 3:39 p.m., according to a press release. Fire managers located the wildfire with assistance from an Oregon Department of Forestry detection camera located on Black Mountain. The fire was caused by lightning and is burning in grass and timber with dead and down trees. The fire actively burned yesterday to the southeast with crowning, torching and spotting. Gusty winds contributed to increased fire behavior and growth. Numerous resources aided in initial attack efforts, including support from Oregon Department of Forestry.
The Forest will inbrief the local Northeast Oregon Interagency Type 3 Incident Management Team at noon today with plans for the team to take command of the fire Thursday. An incident command post will be set up at the Ukiah school. The health and safety of the public and wildland fire responders is top priority and mitigations are being taken regarding group sizes by dispersing resources through separate and smaller fire camps and conducting virtual meetings when possible.
Current resources on scene include three Forest Service engines, one 20-person hand crew, two interagency hotshot crews and two bulldozers. Firefighter suppression efforts are being supported by various aerial resources as needed, including two helicopters, single-engine air tankers and large air tankers. Additional resources are on order. Today firefighters will continue to complete line construction, where terrain and fuels allow for crews to safely engage, while utilizing aircraft to slow fire spread and cool hotspots within the fire perimeter.
Hot and dry conditions are expected to persist throughout the week. Fire officials want to remind everyone that the current fire danger rating remains at high and public use restrictions involving chainsaw use, smoking and off-road travel are in effect.