Yesterday’s highest priority was initial attack, suppressing new fires started by the lightning that occurred on Sunday night. Six new fires in the area were discovered and contained by fire crews.
The South Fork Complex fire grew slightly in the last 24 hours as crews continued to conduct burnout operations along the northeast flank adding depth to the fireline. The higher temperatures and lower humidity provided for sufficient burning conditions. Aerial resources continued to drop water onto smokes and hotspots. Crews worked securing the NW flank from Aldrich Mountain down into Oliver Creek, where some heat near firelines was found. The west side of the fire is in mop-up, and patrol status.
Weather and Fire Behavior
A dry cold front is forecast for today, with increasing sustained wind throughout the day. There is a potential for isolated embedded thunderstorms. As the heat increases during the early part of the day, some interior unburned pockets of fuel may flare up and some surface fire may be observed, causing increased smoke. Localities around the fire may see increased smoke.
Initial attack on new fires will be today’s priority. Fires that didn’t show up yesterday may flare up today. As crews are able, and conditions permit, burnout operations will continue along the northeast fire edge to further deepen the fireline. Anticipated weather may bring northwest winds that could test firelines.
Firefighters will continue to hold, patrol and mop-up lines on the west, south and southeast sides of the fire to prevent any further spread beyond established lines.
Crews are beginning to remove excess equipment from the fire lines and return it to camp for cleaning, repackaging and reuse. Some resources are being released to other incidents when they are no longer needed on the South Fork Complex.
Closures and Evacuations
The team is working hard to contain the fire and create a safe area for public entrance. Fire managers understand the importance of restoring access into the closure areas and are working with agency representatives to reopen areas when it is safe to do so.
A Level 1 evacuation remains in effect for the area bounded by the 2150 road on the south, the 21 road on the east, Highway 26 on the north and on the west by a line running due north from the Aldrich Lookout to Highway 26.
A closure is in place on the Malheur National Forest, the Ochoco National Forest and BLM and private lands surrounding the fires. All roads and trails are closed within the closure area. Closure information is available online at inciweb.nwcg.gov.
Maps and other information, are available online at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4042/