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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

8/10/2016 AM Juntura Complex Update

Weather warming; dry fuels extremely responsive to slight changes in wind and humidity
Vale, Oregon – Anticipating clear skies and temperatures in the 80’s, crews continue working to reduce remaining sources of heat, secure containment lines and ensure the three fires that make up the Juntura Complex will not spread. When and where it is safe to do so, they will secure the edges of fingers and interior islands of unburned grass and vegetation. The unburned areas continue to protect the soil and provide habitat, food for livestock and seed sources for regeneration of native plants. However, due to record-low dryness in the fuels, the crews have to be alert; small changes in wind could allow remaining fire to reignite and spread rapidly through grass and brush. Instructed to maintain their vigilance, the firefighters will be recording and reporting hourly weather observations.
The overall size of the three fires, mapped with a helicopter reconnaissance yesterday, is 24,301 acres. Approximately 51% of the containment objectives – which include securing the fire edges and rehabilitating direct impacts of firefighting activity such as dozer lines – have been met.
The Simmons Gulch fire is 11,362 acres. Containment objectives are approximately 60% complete. This fire is located on the south side of Highway 20, roughly 30 miles west of Vale and 20 miles east of Juntura, Oregon.
The Sheep Rock fire is 12,783 acres and is 50% completed. This fire is six miles south of Juntura, affecting both sides of the Malheur River, near the Shumway Road.
The Rooster Comb fire is approximately 156 acres and is 95% completed. It is located southeast of the Easterday Reservoir.
Over the next days, as containment progresses, fewer firefighters will be needed. Local members of the Rural Fire Protection Association, crews and equipment operators who provided initial attack and sustained effort to contain these fires will be relieved to return to their initial attack duties and regular lives. A slight chance of thunderstorm activity is forecast for the southern portions of Malheur and Harney Counties.
QUICK FACTS:
Simmons Gulch: 11,362 acres, 60% contained
Sheep Rock: 12,783 acres, 50% contained
Rooster Comb: 156 acres, 95% contained
Location: West of Vale, OR and South of Hwy 20 Hazards: Heavy fuel loads; drier than normal
Values at Risk: Rangelands, sage grouse habitat
Cause: Lightning
Personnel: 431
Resources Committed or Available:
5 Type I Crews
10 Type II Crews
13 Engines
7 Dozers
5 Water Tenders; 1 Grader
1 Type I Helicopter (assigned)
2 Type II Helicopters (1 assigned; 1 available)
3 Type III Helicopters (2 assigned; 1 available)

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