PENDLETON — Firefighters are actively suppressing a wildfire located near Matlock Hill, approximately 13 miles northwest of Ukiah on the North Fork John Day Ranger District, according to a press release from the Umatilla National Forest.
The Matlock Fire, which is currently estimated at 60 acres, was reported on Tuesday, July 28. Fire managers located the wildfire with assistance from an Oregon Department of Forestry detection camera located on Black Mountain. The fire was caused by lightning and is burning in grass and timber with dead and down trees.
The fire actively burned Wednesday, July 29, to the southeast with crowning, torching and spotting. Gusty winds contributed to increased fire behavior and growth. Numerous resources aided in initial attack efforts, including support from the Oregon Department of Forestry.
A local Northeast Oregon Interagency Type 3 Incident Management Team was expected to arrive around noon on July 29 with plans for the team to take command of the fire on Thursday, July 30. An incident command post will be set up at the Ukiah school. Mitigations are being taken regarding group sizes by dispersing resources through separate and smaller fire camps and conducting virtual meetings when possible, the release said.
Current resources on scene include three Forest Service engines, one 20-person hand crew, two interagency hotshot crews and two dozers. Firefighter suppression efforts are being supported by various aerial resources as needed, including two helicopters, single engine air tankers and large air tankers and additional resources are on order.
Firefighters will continue to complete line construction, where terrain and fuels allow for crews to safely engage, while utilizing aircraft to slow fire spread and cool hot spots within the fire perimeter.