Elgin, Ore. – While recent weather has been useful in stopping the growth of Grizzly Bear Complex fires in the short run, fire managers know that it has just slowed the fire down for now. Firefighters are mindful of the extended forecast, which includes warm fall days, and the fact that large fuel that burn for a long time are extremely dry from the extended drought that has affected the Inland Northwest. With these factors in mind, the southern portions will continue mop-up, and containment lines along the south and west will continue to be reinforced with fuel reduction efforts on the road side.
The brief weather system brought snow and rain across the fire, which is excellent for mop-up, but only has a temporary effect on wetting fuels larger than a finger. These fuels will rapidly dry out again once the sun comes out. The plan for the Grizzly Bear Complex is to allow the fire to continue to burn within the wilderness boundary, with extensive monitoring of fire activity. The road and brushing work along the 64 Road will act as containment fire line on the western boundary of the Wilderness. In addition, completed structure protection work around the Slick Ear, Little Turkey, and Godman cabins are designed to protect them should the fire move in that direction. In addition, there will be people patrolling that area for fire behavior and quick response to any increase fire activity.
Fire hose, pumps and other equipment will be removed from areas where mop up has been completed. Crews will be taking an inventory of over 37 pumps and where they have been deployed all around the fire in order to retrieve them when the fire is out.
Roads into the Complex remain closed. A closure description and map of closed roads is available at all Umatilla National Forest offices as well as on the Umatilla National Forest website: www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla/ .
Grizzly Bear Complex Fire
Fire Complex Size: 75,268 acres
Start Date: August 13, 2015
Location: 20 miles SE of Dayton, WA, burning on Umatilla National Forest and private lands protected by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry and Washington Dept. of Natural Resources.
Hazards: Gradual continued growth along fire perimeter located within the wilderness. Torching and fire growth likely in areas where there is heavy fuels.
Values at Risk: Public safety; Communities of Troy, Grouse Flats, Eden Bench; Slick Ear, Turkey Tail and Ski Bluewood recreation sites; Long Meadows Guard Station; Historic Hoodoo lookout; Communications facilities.
12 Water tenders
11 Misc. Heavy Equipment
Structures Lost: 33 (5 primary residences)
Evacuation Levels: NONE
Level 1: READY Be prepared
Level 2: SET Be ready to evacuate
Level 3: GO Leave immediately.