LA GRANDE, Ore. — Days are getting shorter and nights cooler, but the stubborn 80,725-acre Grizzly Bear Complex fire is a long way from being extinguished., LA GRANDE, Ore. — Days are getting shorter and nights cooler, but the stubborn 80,725-acre Grizzly Bear Complex fire is a long way from being extinguished.
“This fire will remain on the landscape until there is a significant rainfall or a snow event,” said Joani Bosworth, a public affairs specialist for the Umatilla National Forest.
The fire is continuing to burn in Wallowa County and southeastern Washington and over the past week has grown about 100 acres, all within the Weneha-Tucannon Wilderness, where most of the fire is based.
The most intense activity is in the Monument Ridge-Melton Creek area in the northeastern corner of the fire area on the Washington side. A cluster of cabins in the Slick Ear, Turkey Tail and Godman guard station portions of this area remain threatened by the fire.
The cabins are being monitored by firefighters and are covered with structure protection wrap, according to Amber Mahoney, a public affairs specialist for the Umatilla National Forest.
“They are wrapped just in case the fire does something crazy,” Mahoney said.
It is unlikely that the fire will make a run toward the structures because strong winds blowing the fire west would be needed. Mahoney said that wind rarely blows in this direction in that area.
The cabins, which are on a plateau, are just outside the Weneha-Tucannon Wilderness.
Fire activity, which primarily consists of smoldering hot spots, is being enhanced by warm afternoons and dry conditions.
“It is cooling off at night, but the relative humidity at night remains low,” Mahoney said.
A total of 50 people are now on the fire, which was started by lightning on Aug. 13.
The 12,763-acre Eagle Complex fires, 10 miles east of Medical Springs, also continues to have many smoldering hot spots. Most remain in the Sullivan Creek area, where smoke continues to be present, said Kathy Arnoldus, a fire information officer for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
Arnoldus noted that the Sullivan Creek area is filled with steep, rugged terrain that is hard for firefighters to reach.