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Thursday, August 25, 2016

8/25/16 Rail Fire

The Rail Fire is 32,840 and 47% contained. While weather conditions on Wednesday prevented fire crews from accomplishing as much controlled burning as planned, progress continued in other important areas.

While some fire operations were postponed, some others in areas buffered from wind commenced as planned, allowing crews to continue strengthening and extending containment lines along the southern flanks of the fire. Crews have been positioning resources and preparing for the next window when conditions allow for continued firing operations.

In addition to water and retardant drops to assist fire crews on the ground, air support is planning aerial ignitions where they will drop plastic spherical devices (PSDs) that resemble ping pong balls filled with a combustible chemical that activates when dropped on the ground, lighting vegetation or fuels. The objective is to methodically move fire slowly downhill from strategic ridgetops to help achieve stronger containment lines.

Crews are continuing patrol and mop-up operations along the fire’s northern perimeter. Overall, those areas are looking good, and crews are even beginning the rehabilitation process in some areas. While the immediate focus of the incident management team is fire suppression, there is important longer-term rehabilitation and restoration work that must take place after the fire. As suppression resources and supplies shift from the fire’s northern flanks to the more active southern area, resource advisors are helping to guide the rehabilitation work beginning in the northern portion of the fire.

With the start of bow-hunting season fast approaching, many are asking about road closures around the fire. A road closure is in effect for the fire area and multiple nearby roads. A detailed map is available on the inciweb site at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/map/4914/2/57397/

Heading into the weekend, fire managers encourage those planning outdoor adventures to be mindful of fire restrictions in effect, especially campfire restrictions. Fire restrictions for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest are posted at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/wallowa-whitman/home/?cid=stelprd3848683. Restriction information for the Malheur National Forest is posted at  www.fs.usda.gov/detail/malheur/home/?cid=fsbdev3_033802 .

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