The Rail Fire is 34,390 acres and 55% contained. Crews made good progress yesterday extending containment lines on the fire’s southern perimeter. Along the fire’s eastern, northern, and western flanks, fire crews are continuing patrol and mop-up. Repair work is also underway in many of these areas and the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams are in the early stages of addressing post-fire recovery efforts, such as erosion mitigation. Weather for the weekend will remain hot and dry but winds are expected to pick up, with gusts of 25-30 miles per hour.
Over the course of the Rail Fire’s burning, fire managers have been monitoring how the fire has impacted different areas throughout the Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur National Forests. While the fire has burned over 33,000 acres so far, the fire has responded with varied intensity depending on forest conditions. Most notably, the fire burned differently in areas where fuels reduction work had occurred versus in areas where tree stands had become dense and overgrown with a build-up of fuels. Some fuel treatment areas were burned but the fire typically moved through these areas at a slower rate and did not do as much damage. In some of these treated areas, fire crews were able to establish safe positions where they could conduct tactical burning operations to strengthen fire containment lines and stop the fire from advancing. In untreated areas with dense and overgrown conditions, the fire burned hot and fast, leaving firefighters on the ground few safe options to directly attack it. With predictions calling for longer fire seasons with larger and more destructive wildfires, these types of fuels treatments will play an increasingly important role in strengthening forest health and resiliency.
As bow hunting season begins today, fire managers would like to remind the public of the closure order in effect for the fire area and some nearby roads to ensure firefighter and public safety. A detailed closure map is available on the Inciweb site at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/map/4914/2/57397/
Size: 34,390 acres
Location: 5 miles west of Unity, Oregon
Cause: Under Investigation
31 Water tenders
4 Type 1 heavy helicopters
1 Type 2 medium helicopter
2 Type 3 light helicopter
The fire area and nearby roads are closed. The closure order can be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4914/
(Click “Maps” for the closure map)