Umatilla National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
72510 Coyote Road
Pendleton, OR 97801
Fire Information Line: 458-206-6192
Incident Commander: Mike Almas, Northern Rockies Incident Management Team
Meacham Complex InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7038/
Rattlesnake Fire Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7069/
Mike Almas’ Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management Team (IMT) began managing the Meacham Complex on Friday, August 21, 2020. The Meacham Complex of fires includes the Hager Ridge Fire, Horse Fire, 896 (Horseshoe Ridge) Fire, and other smaller fires located approximately twenty five miles east/southeast of Pendleton, Oregon. In addition to those fires, Mike Almas’ IMT assumed command of the Rattlesnake Fire Monday, August 24 and will manage it as part of the Meacham Complex.
The Rattlesnake Fire is burning on the Pomeroy Ranger District in Washington, approximately twenty miles south of Pomeroy. Due to the distance between the Rattlesnake Fire and other Meacham Complex fires, the fires near Pendleton will be referred to as part of the southern branch of the Meacham Complex, and the Rattlesnake Fire will be referred to as the northern branch of the Meacham Complex. Detailed updates, specific to Rattlesnake Fire, are available at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7069/).
Multiple agencies are coordinating on Meacham Complex fire suppression, including United States Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), Bureau of Indian Affairs, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, local volunteer fire departments, and various aerial resources. Currently, many of the smaller fires within the southern branch of the Meacham Complex are contained and in patrol status or have been declared out.
Fire acreage totals within the southern branch of the Meacham Complex remain the same: Hager Ridge Fire- 57 acres; Horse Fire- 169 acres; 896 (Horseshoe Ridge) Fire- 40 acres.
Wednesday, firefighters continued to strengthen containment lines and perform mop-up, working inward from the fire perimeters on the Hager Ridge Fire, the Horse Fire, and the 896 (Horseshoe Ridge) Fire. In areas where containment lines are secured and no longer a risk, crews began implementing some suppression repair, such as constructing water bars along constructed fireline (to help reduce erosion potential). In addition to work on those fires listed above, other crews and resources patrolled the remaining unstaffed, contained fires and were pre-positioned in the event of new fire starts in the area. By the end of Wednesday’s shift, fire managers declared all of the remaining active fires in the southern branch of the Meacham Complex contained.
Thursday, fire managers will begin to reposition many crews from the southern branch of the Meacham Complex to the remaining active, uncontained fire within the Meacham Complex- the Rattlesnake Fire (northern branch). Several of the contained fires within the southern branch of the Meacham Complex will be unstaffed and patrolled or have limited staffing. However, firefighters will continue mop up efforts along the southern perimeter of the Horse Fire and on portions of the 896 Fire perimeter where heavy fuels continue to smolder and still pose a potential threat to containment lines. In addition, crews will also continue working on suppression repair activities, as mop-up and containment lines are secured. Some crews will continue to patrol unstaffed fires and remain available for initial attack if a new fire were to start in the area.
Resources Threatened: If any of the fires escape containment lines, several resources could be threatened, including one structure near the Horse Fire, the Union Pacific Railroad line near the 896 Fire, and significant cultural and natural resources.
Evacuations and Closures: Currently there are no evacuations or area closures or the southern branch of the Meacham Complex. Although the FSR3128 road closure remains in place due to heavy fire traffic and safety concerns, it is being re-evaluated and will likely be rescinded later today. Check for up-to-date closure information at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/7038/.
Weather & Fuel Conditions: Thursday’s weather is expected to be seasonable, with high temperatures in 70s to 80s, relative humidity 20-30%, and winds 4-9 mph (gusting to 16 mph). Thermal inversions are still resulting in potentially lower humidity at middle to high elevations, and winds in the fire area will predominantly be terrain-driven. Meteorologists predict dry, warm conditions to prevail until Saturday, when a dry, cold front will likely move over the fire area.