Shawn Sheldon, Incident Commander
Rail Fire Update
Saturday, August 20, 2016
The Rail Fire is currently burning nearly 30,000 acres five miles west of Unity Oregon on the Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur National Forests and within the Monument Rock Wilderness Area.
Firefighters have contained the eastern and northern flanks, and are working to mop up remaining hotspots close to the line. A chipper will soon be working along the northern line as the rehabilitation process begins in that area.
As the fire is burning more actively on the southern flank, crews are working diligently to establish stronger lines along the 13 and 430 Roads. The 13 Road has been prepared as a backup fire break only if needed, and preparation along the 430 road will begin in earnest today. On the southeast side of the wilderness, hand trail is being constructed to help keep the fire from spreading to the northeast. Burnout operations will be utilized as needed to keep ahead of the advancing fire.
Minimum Impact Suppression Techniques (MIST) will be used as the fire burns in the Monument Rock Wilderness Area. No heavy equipment will be used in this area.
The Northwest Incident Management Team Six would like to thank everyone who attended the public meeting at the Senior Center in Prairie City last night. Incident strategies and tactics were discussed, and questions from the community were answered.
The weather for today is anticipated to be warmer, and relative humidity may dip down to the low teens. Winds are expected to be light from the north today.
The Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur National Forests have implemented Phase B (tighter) public use restrictions due to the high fire danger. Campfires are only allowed in the fire pits provided at developed recreations sites. Please remember to bring a dedicated supply of water to extinguish your campfire before leaving your site.
Fire at a Glance
Size: 29,532 acres
Location: 5 miles west of Unity, Oregon
Cause: Under Investigation
30 Water tenders
4 Type 1 heavy helicopters
1 Type 2 medium helicopter
2 Type 3 light helicopter
The fire area and multiple roads are closed. The current closure order can be found on Inciweb (see below).
(Click “Maps” for the closure map)