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Oregon Wildfire Report - Friday Morning July 16

5:59 PM · Jul 16, 2021

Here is the morning Oregon Wildfire report for Friday, July 16. One new fire started yesterday in NE Oregon and it immediately blew up to 9k acres. Good progress is being made on the Grandview Fire and Jack Fire. #ElbowCreekFire (new) 9,000 acres #DarleneFire 686 acres - 5% contained #GrandviewFire 5,971 acres - 20% contained #BrulerFire -156 acres - 5% contained #JackFire - 16,667 acres (+1,419) - 25% contained #BootlegFire - 241,497acres (+14,262) - 7% contained Elbow Creek Fire - Firefighters continue battling the Elbow Creek Fire located in the Grande Ronde River drainage near Mud Springs, approximately 31 miles southeast of Walla Walla, Washington. The fire is burning on both sides of the Grande Ronde River and is on or threatening Umatilla National Forest lands, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest lands, Vale District Bureau of Land Management lands and Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands. The Elbow Creek Fire is now estimated to have burned 9,000 acres. The fire was reported on Thursday, July 15 and is burning in grass and timber. Winds and hot temperatures contributed to active fire behavior and growth yesterday, pushing the fire rapidly to the northeast. The movement of the fire prompted the Wallowa County Sheriff’s office to evacuate the communities of Eden Bench and Troy. Firefighters, aided by aerial resources, focused suppression efforts on protecting structures in the area and establishing containment lines to slow the spread of the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The fire was reported at 2:32pm July 15. Darlene Fire - On the Darlene Fire yesterday, crews laid more hose around the perimeter of the fire and mopped up within the fire lines. They continue to secure the areas around structures as well. Fire operations today will include strengthening the containment lines and watching for any spot fires that could occur outside of the established lines. Today’s temperatures are predicted to be in the low to mid 80s. Winds will be from the southwest switching to northwest in the afternoon again. Relative Humidity (RH) is coming back up with good recoveries at night, helping decrease fire behavior. Fuel moistures are still at record lows, especially for July, and firefighters will continue to watch for any spot fires that could ignite and spread rapidly. Grandview Fire - More info to come Bruler Fire - Firefighters took advantage of cooler temperatures and higher humidity to complete additional direct and indirect line around the Bruler Fire yesterday. Additional resources arrived on the fire, allowing firefighters to identify and mop up a spot fire that occurred to the northeast of the established fire perimeter. The spot fire has been completely lined and cold trailed, which greatly reduces the likelihood of future spread from this location. The dense tree canopy can make it difficult to detect hot spots without firefighters on the ground near the fire watching for smoke. A helicopter is assigned to the Bruler Fire, ready to respond to hot spots and new starts within the fire area. The Bruler Fire is estimated to be 156 acres with the addition of the spot fire and more accurate mapping. Today, firefighters will take advantage of moderate weather conditions to mop up and cold trail around the fire. Mop up includes using hoses to add water to remove heat from burned areas. Cold trailing is a time-consuming process that verifies the ground is cold to the touch. This labor-intensive job involves walking the entire fire perimeter and feeling the ground for hot spots and embers. Fallers will also remove hazard trees and snags to reduce the probability of fire spread beyond the established perimeter, and to increase safety from them falling. Such a large closure area is necessary to ensure that firefighters can focus on managing the fire and not needing to evacuate visitors should conditions on the fire change rapidly. We appreciate the support of the public in allowing us to stay focused on firefighting and we will reduce the closure area as soon as we can. “While we are making great progress, the fire is not contained,” said Agency Administrator Nikki Swanson. “I’m pleased that the firefighters were able to take advantage of cooler weather and higher humidity to quickly respond to the spot fire yesterday,” said Incident Commander Brian Gales. “Firefighters are ready to quickly respond to any new activities that occur in the area.” Jack Fire - The Jack Fire is currently estimated at 16,667 acres and is 25% contained. North of Hwy. 138 resources continue to successfully hold the fire within the planned containment lines. Firefighters are working to clear vegetation on the remaining portion on the containment line on the northern perimeter. As mop-up is completed, crews will be shifted to different parts of the fire to help with suppression efforts. South of HWY 138, firefighters aided by air resources have established containment lines along the eastern and western perimeter of the fire. Crews will continue bringing line down and around the southern edge of the fire with the goal of completing line construction within the planned containment area. Resources are using a combination of hand and dozer line supported by water drops and fire suppressant to establish the remaining containment line. Firefighters will burn away vegetation when needed to maintain the line. Bootleg Fire - For the fourth day in a row, firefighters withdrew from leading edges of the Bootleg Fire as extreme fire conditions fueled expansive fire growth. In the late afternoon, a large pyrocumulus cloud ‘collapsed’ further spreading embers to the east of the main fire and prompting additional evacuation notices for the communities of Summer Lake and Spring Lake in Lake County. Crews worked through the night to get dozer lines around spot fires over the 34 Road to the southeastern edge of the fire. To the north, crews continued to work against very active surface fire, spotting up to a half mile ahead of the main fire, and dry southern winds. “The Bootleg Fire perimeter is more than 200 miles long- that’s an enormous amount of line to build and hold.” said Rob Allen, Incident Commander for the Pacific Northwest Area Incident Management Team 2. “We are continuing to use every resource from dozers to air tankers to engage where it’s safe to do so especially with the hot, dry, windy conditions predicted to worsen into the weekend.” On Thursday, firefighters made excellent progress on the southern edge of the fire as winds pushed the fire back into itself. On the fire’s western edge, firefighters continue to successfully hold the existing containment lines and are patrolling for any remaining hotspots near the fireline. In addition, several crews will continue working to protect and wrap houses towards Paisley and Summer Lake as a precaution ahead of potential fire growth toward those communities over the coming days. Additional structural firefighters will arrive today to assist the east side of the fire with structure protection. Community Meeting: Friday July 16, 2021 at 6:30pm at NWS Medford - “5 cloud to ground positive lightning flashes were observed to the east of the fire perimeter.” First photo - Pyrocumulus clouds on the Bootleg Fire sent in by a reader who preferred to remain anonymous. Second photo - Large fire map for Oregon Third photo - Lightning strikes inside the pyrocumulus clouds on the Bootleg Fire yesterday evening