October 5, 2015 - Update
Incident: Grizzly Bear Complex Wildfire
Grizzly Bear Complex Fires in Patrol and Monitor Status
The Grizzly Bear Complex fires are currently in patrol and monitor status. Two fires within the Grizzly Bear Complex, the Butte Creek Fire and Bear Ridge Fire, continue to burn actively within the interior and along the uncontrolled fire perimeter within the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. Increased fire activity, including surface burning on the forest floor and isolated tree torching, is attributed to continued unseasonably warm and dry weather conditions along with extremely dry fuels in the fire area.
The areas currently exhibiting the most fire activity are within the Melton Creek, Second Creek, Cougar Creek, Crooked Creek drainages, and on the Grizzly Bear and Monument Ridges. All indirect control lines along FS Roads 46, 64, 300 and 4608 adjacent to the Wilderness boundary have been completed and are prepared for burnout operations should the fire threaten to cross over the wilderness boundary.
Additional smoke may be visible in the Slick Ear area along the FS Road 300. Firefighters have prepared for a small burn-out operation to reduce ground fuels in and around the Slick Ear Cabins. This operation will mitigate the fuels around these structures by creating defensible space and help reduce the current and future threat to these cabins.
The current Area Closure, issued on September 18, 2015, remains in effect within portions of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness and was implemented due to the severe conditions. The closure provides for public safety and protection from hazards associated with an active fire and will remain in effect until the fire area receives a significant amount of moisture. . Members of the public are advised to avoid the area. Forest Officials will review Area Closure needs as fire activity diminishes to an acceptable level or until the fire area receives a season ending weather event.
The area closure provides limited access to portions of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness where contingency or suppression efforts have been completed. Areas within the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness that remain closed to public entry include: South and east of Forest Trail #3113 (Misery Trail), East of Forest Trail 3256 (Sawtooth Ridge Trail) and Forest Trail 3241 (Elk Flat Trail). The closure area also includes non-wilderness National Forest lands north of Forest Road 62 from Elk Flats Trailhead to the Forest boundary near Troy, Oregon. (A full description of the area closure is provided at the end of this news release.) See the Closure Order on the Forest website for more specific closure locations and information: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/umatilla/alerts-notices/?aid=29879