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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

8/31/2016 Rail Fire Update

Fire and Road Work Stabilizing.
Wood-Gathering Opportunity starting Thursday, September 1 along Forest Road 13

Unity, Oregon - Fire lines established around the 40,983-acre Rail Fire were not significantly challenged on Tuesday. Consumption of fuel within unburned interior islands continued, and the reduced fire intensity under cloud and smoke cover allowed firefighters to improve fire lines around the southern sides. Helicopters carrying buckets of water were used to cool hot spots near the fire line east of Table Rock. Many sections of fire line have been bolstered by hose-lays and pumps for mop up.

A small section of fire line along the southern flank remains to be tied into rocky bluffs to prevent the fire from escape. On the west central flank of the fire, hot spots within 200 feet of the fire line have been mopped up and checked with hand-operated infrared (heat detecting) devices.

The night shift is being reduced in numbers and will be used primarily for patrol and monitoring during future shifts.

With respect to the weather, today is expected to be a transition day. Relative humidity will be rising, and winds will be pivoting from SE to SW, to NW later in the day, with gusts to 20 mph. While the minimum relative humidity has been in the teens recently, it’s forecast to rise to 30-35% by Thursday, with a potential for wetting rain Thursday night or Friday morning. The freezing level is expected to drop to 9000 feet by Friday, bringing local temperatures down to the low 30’s.

The Rail Fire is now 70% contained. Because of the stability of the fire and containment progress, Prairie City District Ranger Gregg Moon is pleased to announce that Forest Road 13 will be opening to the public for firewood gathering on September 1 at 6:00 a.m.

People with a valid Malheur National Forest personal use firewood permit will have access to obtain the wood that firefighters cut and stacked along the roadside. Forest Road 16 remains closed.

Chainsaws and off-road travel are still prohibited. For more information about obtaining firewood permits, call the Malheur National Forest 541-575-3000.

Be cautious for firefighter personnel and vehicles in the area.

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