PENDLETON, Ore. — Firefighters are making substantial progress on most of the wildfires caused by recent thunderstorms. Two new fires were discovered on the Forest yesterday and were actively suppressed. Both fires are staffed and remain small, less than a tenth of an acre in size. More fires may be detected throughout the next few days as weather conditions continue to stay warm and dry.
The Rattlesnake Ridge Fire, burning on the Walla Walla Ranger District, remains 95 acres in size and is now 50% contained. The Rattlesnake Ridge Fire was reported on Aug. 22 and is located 26 miles east of Pendleton, Oregon. The fire is burning in rugged terrain with grass and timber. Fire behavior was moderate yesterday, consisting primarily of creeping and smoldering with pockets of heavier fuels burning more actively in the perimeter. The favorable conditions allowed firefighters, with support from aerial resources, to secure the perimeter of the fire by strengthening containment lines to keep the fire within its existing footprint. Firefighters also completed hazard mitigation by falling snags (which are dead or dying trees) that could threaten safety or cause burning material to roll down the steep terrain.
Today firefighters will continue securing containment lines to reduce the risk of the fire moving outside of the fire perimeter, utilizing aircraft to cool hotspots and check fire spread. Firefighters are also using engines to mop up and cool hot spots adjacent to the line construction. Mopping up includes searching for pockets of heat, digging out the heat source, and cooling with water. Current resources on scene include eight smokejumpers, two 20-person crews, one interagency hot shot crew, a dozer, a water tender, and four engines.
Hot and dry conditions are expected to persist throughout the week. Fire officials want to remind everyone that the current fire danger rating remains at HIGH and Public Use Restrictions involving chainsaw use are in effect.
For more information regarding Restrictions, please contact the Umatilla National Forest information hotline at (877) 958-9663. The latest fire information will be posted on the Blue Mountains Fire Information Blog at http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/.
More information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.