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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

8/9/2017 Bear Butte Fire Update

Aug. 9 at 11 a.m.

Firefighters continued to gain the upper hand in containing the fire. A specialized water system is being used on the north fire line. Water is collected at several points, including a creek, using pumps, water tenders and skidgines that transport water. This water is stored in portable tanks and then dispersed to fire lines using pumps and hose lays.

Skidgines are part skidder, a rubber-tired tractor used for building logging roads and retrieving downed timber, and part fire engine with a water tank, pump and hose mounted behind the cab. The skidgines transport water for use along the north fire line maneuvering along a bulldozed line too rough and soft for heavier equipment. This hybrid machine has been used for firefighting since about 2000.

The water has made fire suppression more effective and has enhanced firefighter safety. Water availability along the fire line has been used along with helicopters. The water system will reduce the need for aircraft to fight the fire. Helicopters will continue water drops as needed. Light north winds continue to aid fire management. A total of 488 personnel are working on the fire, which is at 45 percent containment and has burned 492 acres.


The Anthony Lakes Highway (Hwy. 73) remains closed and the Anthony Lakes Resort area remains under evacuation. The U.S. Forest Service also has an area closure order in effect. For additional road closure information visit www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/wallowa-whitman/alerts-notices.

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