MONUMENT - The Monument Complex Fire grew to 49,000 acres by Tuesday, July 24, as gusty sundowner winds continued to fan the flames against the north lines.

Carl West, Interagency Incident Management Team commander for the fire, said two spot fires cropped up across the fire line over the weekend, but crews dug trail around the new spots and mopped up by the time the night crew reported Sunday, July 22.

The outer perimeter of the fire grew to encompass nearly 77 square miles, and the fire also spread through previously untouched islands within the fire lines.

The fire was estimated at 45 percent contained on Tuesday.

Officials increased the manpower for the fire, with 1,119 people assigned to it by mid-week. In addition to ground crews, there were seven helicopters and 71 fire engines working the Complex.

There were several road closures, but no evacuations had been ordered, officials said.

The Interagency Team reported no further threat to buildings from the fire. However, a communication site at Monument Lookout that is used for emergency services in the Monument area remained at risk.

Over the weekend, crews burned out the unburned areas between the fire and the lines in the northwest corner, making a more defensible containment line, West said.

In the southwest area, crews made progress at linking fire lines and reducing the number of hot spots near the line.

Snags were falling earlier this week, which caused some hazards to firefighters. A crew on the northwest area was moved to safer ground until the day shift could get back to cutting more snags on Tuesday.

Firefighters were bracing for continued high daytime temperatures and the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms.

Roads closed during the fire effort include Forest Service Roads, 21, 23, 2307, 2105 and portions of 5316 and 5320 on the Umatilla National Forest.

In other fires across the region, crews were getting several large blazes under control.

The Egley Complex, north of Riley, was declared 100 percent contained. The fire scorched 140,360 acres over 219 square miles, burning in brush, trees and grass.

As crews mop up they are keeping an eye on the fuel load in the area, which remains dry despite some rains last week.

The Trout Creek Fire continued to burn in rugged terrain in and near the Eagle Cap Wilderness on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. It has burned about 543 acres, and is estimated at 60 percent contained.

The Mule Peak Lookout has been evacuated and wrapped with shelter material for protection.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.