PENDLETON — Firefighters have made progress on the majority of the wildfires caused by recent thunderstorms. Concentrated lightning activity occurred across portions of the National Forest on Tuesday night.
New smoke reports are anticipated throughout the next few days as the weather conditions remain hot and dry.
Two new fires were discovered Tuesday within the boundary of the HK Complex, which consists of 13 lightning fires burning on the Heppner Ranger District near the Alder Creek Skookum Trailhead, approximately 15 miles north of Monument. The total acreage of all fires within the HK Complex is now estimated at 1,500 acres and the fires are burning in grass, brush and timber. The largest of the fires within the complex is estimated at 125 acres. Fire behavior on Tuesday consisted of torching, spotting and active running. Hot and dry conditions, as well as strong winds, contributed to fire’s rapid growth.
A local Type 3 incident management team out of John Day took command of the HK Complex at 6 p.m. Tuesday. However, due to the increased fire activity, a Type 2 Incident Management Team has been ordered and will in-brief at the Heppner Ranger District office at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The Type 2 Incident Management Team will take command of the fire at 6 a.m. Thursday.
A large area, road and trail closure has been implemented on the HK Complex.
Firefighters will continue to complete direct line construction on Wednesday, where terrain and fuels allow for crews to safely engage, while utilizing aircraft to slow fire spread and cool hotspots within the fire perimeter. Approximately 300 fire personnel, including some local resources from Oregon Department of Forestry, are currently assigned to the fire.
The Rocky Flats Fire still remains at 49 acres and 100% lined. The fire is also located on the Heppner Ranger District and is approximately 13 miles northeast of Spray. Resources on scene include one crew and two engines. Suppression strategy is to continue to improve containment lines.