WALLOWA COUNTY:  Cooler temperatures dampen fire

WALLOWA COUNTY: Cooler temperatures dampen fire

Rain combined with cooler temperatures and higher humidity reduced the spread of the Granite Gulch Fire to a minimum Thursday, although heavier fuels continued to burn in the interior areas of the fire.

“[Thursday], we flew in two new lookouts to watch the southeastern flank to monitor the fire and alert us to any changes in activity,” Incident Commander Adam Wing said, bringing the total number of fire line personnel on the ground to seven.

Aerial mapping Thursday showed the total footprint of the fire has grown to 4,600 acres. Fire activity is expected to pick up in the next few days as warm, dry weather moves back in. Fire movement In Last Chance Creek drainage will be closely monitored.

Under the right conditions, wildland firefighters can manage wildfire to reduce the natural buildup of vegetation on the forest floor. Forest Service personnel work with stakeholders to strategically select areas were managing a wildfire may be beneficial to habitat and restore ecological balance to forested areas.

Protection of communities, infrastructure, and other values are always the first consideration in determining whether or not fire can safely be managed for other benefits. Based on these and many other criteria, it was determined the Granite Gulch Fire can be managed to reduce fuels and also remove Subalpine fir to open up areas for Whitebark pine. Today, fire managers plan to send in a monitoring team to ensure the fire is meeting these objectives without adverse effects.

Forest visitors who plan to travel through the upper Minam River area should contact the Public Information Officer at 541-219-6863. Advisory signs have been posted at trailheads, and National Forest officials are reviewing the need for an area closure to protect public health and safety.
For the most current information, go to https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6498/