Washington State Department of Natural Resources
Northeast Oregon District
Evening Update, 8:00 pm
Sunday August 23, 2015
OSFM Green Team
Lance Lightly, Incident Commander
Brian Gales, Incident Commander
Larry Nickey, Deputy IC
Fire Information (541) 437-0138
Fire lines holding the Grizzly Bear Complex Fire; firefighters contain a slop-over at Big Hole during active burning period this afternoon
Elgin, Ore. – Firefighters have been working day and night to build direct and indirect fire lines around the 61,650-acre Grizzly Bear Complex Fire. Today, extremely dry fuels and relative humidity as low as nine percent were the primary drivers for increased fire behavior. Smoky conditions reduced solar radiation and instability, and light winds worked in the firefighters’ favor as they successfully contained the fire near Big Hole that crossed an established fire line built the previous day.
Containment lines are being constructed for night-time burnout operations when cooler temperatures prevail. On the southern end of the fire, fuel reduction along the 62 Road is nearly complete. After smoke lifted mid-afternoon today, aircraft were busy dropping water on active fire burning in the Wanaha drainage. Firefighters continued to prepare the areas around structures and build indirect line along the west perimeter and mop up inside fire lines in the vicinity of Troy.
On the north side of the fire, six cabin owners were escorted into the Slick Ear area to remove belongings this morning. Contingency fire lines are in place along the fire’s northern perimeter as firefighters prepare burn-out plans at strategic locations.
Two base camp facilities are being established for firefighters in Dayton and Troy to reduce driving time and mitigate fatigue. These base camps will be capable of supporting a few hundred firefighters. Two public meetings were held this afternoon in Anatone and Flora, Ore. A fire briefing was provided by incident commander Brian Gales.
Increased fire activity is expected Monday with additional atmospheric instability. Although a predicted column did not materialize over the fire today, there is a very good chance that one could appear tomorrow. Lightning is predicted for areas west of the fire late Monday. The Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests are assembling initial attack forces for any new fire starts from lightning this week.
Evacuation levels remain the same for communities impacted by the Grizzly Bear Complex fire, and due to the Red Flag Warning, those levels are not expected to be eased. Smoke levels in the northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington areas are being monitored and are rated as unhealthy. Individuals who suffer from respiratory problems should stay indoors and limit exposure by keeping doors and windows shut and putting air conditioners on recirculate.
Fire Complex Size: 61,650 acres
Fire 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: Rapid fire growth with crowning, spotting and wind-driven runs, unauthorized drone flights.
Values at Risk: Public safety, Communities of Troy, Grouse Flats, Eden Bench; Long Meadows Guard Station; Historic Hoodoo lookout, communications facilities.
Resources: 5 Crews, 41 Engines, 1 Helicopter (Type 3), 5 Structural Task Forces
Structures Lost: 33
Level 1: READY Be prepared
Level 2: SET Be ready to evacuate.
Level 3: GO Leave immediately.
A Red Cross Shelter is located at Enterprise High School, 201 SE 4th St in Enterprise, phone 541-519-2360