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Strong Winds, Temperatures Strengthen Double Creek and Eagle Cap Fires Saturday

IMNAHA – There was significant fire growth on the Double Creek and Eagle Cap Wilderness Fires on Saturday as a result of strong winds, hot temperatures, and extremely dry conditions. The Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) Green Team was mobilized on Saturday evening and will be in unified command with Pacific Northwest Team 2 for the Double Creek Fire.

Double Creek Fire: 37,862 acres | 0% contained | 232 personnel assigned The lightning-caused Double Creek Fire is a full suppression fire, and the protection of lives and property remain the primary objectives of this incident. On Saturday, the Double Creek Fire experienced significant growth to the north along Grizzly Ridge and east toward the Snake River. To the south, the fire backed down the Granny Creek drainage toward Freezeout Road. Firefighters were engaged in protecting private lands and infrastructure along the Imnaha River corridor on Saturday but were pushed to areas of refuge on several occasions due to intense and erratic fire behavior. Firefighters and aviation resources responded to evacuate several hunting parties that had been isolated due to the large fire growth. Despite a forecast for lighter winds on Sunday, warm and dry conditions will result in active fire behavior on the east and west slopes of Grizzly Ridge and additional fire spread to the north. Fire will continue backing downslope toward the Imnaha River in the Schleur, Adams, College, Double, and Blackmore Creeks. On Sunday, firefighters will be working with task forces from the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal to protect property and infrastructure along the Upper Imnaha Road.

Weather: A strong upper disturbance and cold front passed through the area Saturday afternoon bringing isolated showers, gusty winds over 60 mph, relative humidity values of 6 to 10 percent, and temperatures reaching the low-90s. Conditions improved Saturday night with cooler temperatures and good humidity recovery. On Sunday, temperatures are forecast to be in the upper-70s to low-80s with southwest winds at 8-12 mph, gusting to 20 mph. While temperatures will remain warm, relative humidity will be higher than Saturday reaching about 20 percent.

Smoke: With an increase in fire activity across the Double Creek and Eagle Cap Wilderness Fires on Saturday, coupled with cooler overnight temperatures and higher relative humidity values, smoke is expected to settle in the lower elevations and drainages in the early morning hours. Current air quality information for the local area is available on the PurpleAir website.

Evacuations: There are current evacuations in place for the Double Creek Fire. Hat Point and Freezeout Roads are under a Level 3 “Go Now” evacuation. The Hat Point Road is also closed due to the fire activity. Imnaha River Road, from Rippleton Creek to the Imnaha Grange is under a Level 2 “Get Set” evacuation. Imnaha River Road, from the town of Imnaha to Rippleton Creek and from the Imnaha Grange to the Pallette Ranch including Imnaha River Woods is under a Level 1 “Be Ready” evacuation. 

Closures: There are currently trail and road closures in effect for the Double Creek Fire as well as the Eagle Cap Wilderness Fires. Closure Orders and Maps are available on the Wallowa Whitman National Forest Fire Incident Updates page. Wallowa County issued an Order to restrict use of the Upper Imnaha Road from Imnaha to the junction of Upper Imnaha Road and Forest Service Road 39.

Air Space: Several Notice to Air Missions (NOTAMs) have been issued for areas surrounding the Double Creek and Eagle Cap Wilderness Fires. NOTAM 2/0826 and NOTAM 2/0849 have been issued to provide a safe environment for firefighting aircraft. Do not operate drones near wildfires. If public drones are flying in areas of wildfire activity, tactical firefighting aircraft will be grounded.

RestrictionsForest Order #06-16-00-22-04 covers Phase B Fire Restrictions for all National Forest System Lands within the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, except for the area within a ¼ mile of the Snake River between Hells Canyon Dam, River Mile 247.5, downstream to the Oregon-Washington border at Snake River Mile 176.0, which is regulated by Forest Order #06-16-04-22-01.

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