Thursday, August 14, 2014

South Fork Complex Fire Update 8/14/14 ^NH

Firefighters took advantage of moderated fire behavior to strengthen firelines directly along the fire edge. The northwest edge of the fire, on Oliver Ridge, is one such location. Firefighters have tied the line down to the South Fork of the John Day River. A helicopter flew in two portable tank and pump units to support mop-up on Oliver Creek ridge which strengthened the containment line.
The northeast perimeter is an area where firefighting efforts were initially hindered by the recent rains. Late in the afternoon, conditions improved enough for burnout operations to resume.
Weather and Fire Behavior
A low pressure system has stalled over the fire area bringing cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity. There is a slight chance of an isolated thunderstorm over the fire, but forecasters expect most of the storm activity to go north of the fire area.
Thursday and Friday should see temperatures and humidity about the same as Wednesday, with warmer and drier conditions over the weekend.
Today’s Operations
Mop-up will continue on the northern and western edge of the fire. If conditions permit, firing operations are planned to tie the line into the Thorn Creek burn scar on the northeastern flank of the fire. Hotshot crews plan to construct handline northerly along the east side of the fire that will also tie the line into the Thorn Creek burn scar.
Firefighters will be hiking in to Magic Lantern Creek to build containment lines where fire activity has been lower over the last few days.
The southeast side of the fire is in patrol status and rehabilitation of the lines will begin to restore the landscape to minimize impacts of firefighting.
Aviation resources will continue to support the firefighters as needed.
Crews will be prepared to provide initial attack should any new fires start.
Closures and Evacuations
A level 1 evacuation remains in effect for the area south of Highway 26, west of Road 21 (Fields Creek) and east of Road 42 (South Fork of the John Day River). A level 1 evacuation is also in place for the area south of Deer Creek and east of the South Fork of the John Day River.
A closure is in place on the Malheur National Forest and the Ochoco National Forest surrounding the fires. All roads and trails are closed within the closure area. Closure information is available online at

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