Rail fire growth finally slowing

The Rail fire has grown to 40,983 acres and is now 70-percent contained. Firelines were not significantly challenged on Tuesday as interior islands of unburned fuels were consumed, according to a fire update.

Only a small section of fireline remains to be completed on the southern flank of the fire. On the western flank, hot spots within 200 feet of the fire line have been mopped up and checked with hand-operated infrared devices. Night shifts are being reduced and will be used for patrolling in future shifts.

Humidity is predicted to rise to 30-35 percent by Thursday, with potential rain Thursday night or Friday morning. The freezing level is expected to drop to 9,000 feet by Friday and bring local temperatures down to the low 30s.

The Rail fire is now staffed by 920 people: 22 crews, 27 engines, six dozers, 34 water tenders one masticator, five skidders, seven helicopters and two single engine air tankers.

Forest Road 13 will be opening to the public at 6 a.m. Sept. 1. Those with a valid Malheur National Forest personal use firewood permit can collect wood that firefighters cut and stacked along the roadside, according to Prairie City District Ranger Gregg Moon.

Chainsaws and off-road travel are still prohibited. Forest Road 16 remains closed.

For more information about obtaining firewood permits, call the Malheur National Forest 541-575-3000. For more information about the Rail fire call 541-446-3592 or email railwildfire@gmail.com.

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