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Friday, September 2, 2016

9/02/2016 Rail Fire Update

Rehabilitation on most fire edges

Unity, Oregon – Fire crews continue their assignment to keep the 41,691-acre Rail Fire from escaping containment lines between Table Rock and Bull Run Mountain. Southwest winds have been lofting embers from about 800 acres of unburned fuels in the fire interior, over the ridgetop firelines, to ignite small spot fires in steep, rocky terrain. With the assistance of helicopters dropping water, all of these spot fires have been put out. As needed, the helicopters have also dropped water inside the fireline to suppress the burning, protect remaining trees, and reduce the production of fire brands.
On the majority of the fire edges, crews and equipment are engaged in mop-up and fire line rehabilitation. “Mop up” includes verifying that the fire is completely extinguished and cool to a sufficient distance within the firelines to prevent the fire escaping or spotting. Typically 50 to 150 feet are mopped up and checked with infrared heat detecting devices to ensure the fire is completely out along that edge.
Fire rehabilitation tasks include retrieving firefighting equipment such as hose, fittings and nozzles; repairing road surfaces, shoulders and ditches; removing the slash that was created during line construction by chipping or piling for future burning; and modifying the surfaces and appearance of dozer lines by adding water bars and slash. This is the main activity on the northern and eastern 2/3 of the fire perimeter.

People with valid Malheur National Forest firewood permits have been assisting this effort along FR13 by loading and removing wood that firefighters cut and stacked as they cleared firelines.
A cold front has arrived in the fire area, bringing moisture and morning clouds, but not significant rain. Temperatures today will reach the lower 60’s and fall to the mid-30’s tonight. Winds will be from the Northwest.
Local Road Closures have changed significantly in the last day. Forest Road 13 has reopened to public travel and permitted firewood loading. Many of the roads that lead to the Fire Closure Area boundary have reopened, but many roads, such as FR16, that define the Closure Area boundary remain closed. Please be alert for firefighters and vehicles, and be especially cautious because all of eastern Oregon continues to be extremely dry.

Fire at a Glance

Size: 41,691 acres

Containment: 75%

Location: 5 miles west of Unity,Oregon

Cause: Under Investigation

Personnel: 783


21 Crews

20 Engines

5 Dozers

30 Water tenders

1 Masticator

5 Skidders/Skidgins


4 Type 1 heavy helicopters

1 Type 2 medium helicopter

2 Type 3 light helicopters

The area immediately around the Fire remains closed. Forest Road 16 remains closed south and east of the fire area. Most other roads have been opened. The closure order and map can be seen at

Click “Maps” for the current closure map.

Fire Information:

(541) 446-3592

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