Elbow Creek Fire reported at 16,432 acres and is 10 percent contained
Wallowa, ORE. – Two days of fire growth not previously captured by infrared mapping now shows the fire at 16,432 acres. Containment is estimated at 10 percent.
The arrival of Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team brings in additional overhead capacity and firefighting resources. There is a total of 343 firefighters and overhead personnel on the incident with additional crews on order.
Crews continued to manage northside lines of the fire perimeter successfully. Growth occurred on the southwest side with winds out of the northeast pushing the fire through the canyons. Steep and rocky terrain continues to be challenging in the canyons of the Grande Ronde River. With a limited number of crews, the incident management team will focus efforts in the most challenging areas along the southwestern portions of the fire in the Grossman Creek Drainage. Dozers are also being utilized in this area along the top of canyon shelves where they can be more effective. The eastern edge of the fire is holding and has transitioned to mop-up operations.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect for the general area with the potential for abundant lightning. Thunderstorm activity could also bring erratic winds, further challenging fire suppression actions.
Another concern facing firefighters is the continued threat of COVID-19. The incident management team is doing all it can to prevent a covid outbreak by limiting the number of participants in briefings and meetings, promoting healthy hygiene, and even substituting fist bump greetings in lieu of handshakes.
Level 2 and 3 evacuation notifications by the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office remain unchanged. Additional information regarding evacuations is available on the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Wallowa-County-Sheriffs-Office-147212815486187).
Closures are also in place surrounding the fire. Due to fire activity on both sides of the Grande Ronde River corridor, the river is closed at Minam State Park. Any rafters that arrive into the fire area will be safely evacuated in coordination with Wallowa County Search and Rescue. Due to extreme wildfire activity and the concern for the safety of the public the entirety of the Umatilla National Forest has been temporarily closed. For more information visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.
Elbow Creek Fire Information: 541-805-2784 (7 a.m. - 9 p.m.)