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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

8/30/2016 Rail Fire Update

Yesterday’s spot fires caught; weather abates slightly
Unity, Oregon – The dry, unstable Red Flag weather did not produce a big smoke column yesterday, but firefighters’ preparation paid off as the 40,820-acre Rail Fire burned actively. Four small spot fires from blown embers were successfully suppressed by ground crews and air support. Fire lines in the southeast portion of the fire held successfully in spite of continual testing from 25-30 mph SW winds blowing and gusting toward them. Hand- and dozer-built firelines along the southern perimeter were connected. Consumption of interior fuels produced large volumes of smoke.

In the quieter northern parts of the fire, road rehabilitation and mop-up continued to progress.
The weather today will be slightly less extreme and not reach “Red Flag” thresholds, but conditions remained very dry overnight and 10-15 mph SW winds with gusts to 25 are again forecast. A smoke column could develop in the afternoon as the inversion lifts and interior islands of unburned fuel continue to burn. There is a slight chance of dry thunderstorms, but, most likely, those storms will occur west and north of the fire area. Cooler, moister weather is expected Thursday.

Today, crews will continue to hold, improve, mop-up and rehabilitate their assigned firelines and roads.

Operations staff will also be evaluating and planning how to deal with the large islands of unburned interior fuels south and east of the Little Malheur River. This vegetation continues to burn actively, especially when the winds are funneled by the topography, the Ceonothus vegetation is more continuous, and large snags and fallen logs are consumed. Although they are getting smaller as each day passes, depending on weather, these areas continue to have the potential to throw burning material across the fire lines.

There are no changes in road closures. Forest Road 13 is closed from the Grant-Baker County border to its intersection with Road 16. Road 16 remains closed between Roads 13 and 1680.

Fire at a Glance
Size: 40,820 acres
Containment: 65%
Location: 5 miles west of Unity, Oregon
Cause: Under Investigation
Personnel: 862
22 Crews
37 Engines
6 Dozers
11 Water tenders
1 Masticator
5 Skidders/Skidgins
4 Type 1 heavy helicopters
1 Type 2 medium helicopter
2 Type 3 light helicopters
2 Single Engine Air Tankers
The fire area and nearby roads including FR16 are closed. The closure order can be found at
(Click “Maps” for the closure map)
Fire Information:
(541) 446-3592

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