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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow China Cap Fire mapped at 195 acres Wednesday


China Cap Fire mapped at 195 acres Wednesday

The wind shifted on the Hurricane Creek Fire Thursday afternoon. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
The wind shifted on the Hurricane Creek Fire Thursday afternoon. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
JOSEPH — The China Cap fire discovered July 29 in the Eagle Cap Wilderness was mapped at 195 acres Wednesday afternoon.

The fire is in rugged, steep country — too dangerous for ground crews. Nathan Goodrich, Wallowa-Whitman North Zone fire management officer, said McCall smokejumpers who jumped the fire Tuesday afternoon are directing helicopter drops and single engine air tanker retardant drops, taking weather observations and monitoring fire behavior.

Goodrich said air attack is concentration on the southwest side of the fire near China Cap Creek to keep it from spreading outside of the wilderness onto the La Grande District and to keep the fire on the south side of the Minam River.

The National Weather Service’s forecast this week calls for scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms for the next several days over Oregon and extreme southeast Washington. Abundant lightning can be expected with possible rain. Some of the thunderstorms could produce erratic winds with gusts up to 40 mile per hour and possibly hail. Temperatures in Joseph are predicted to be in the upper 80s for the next week.

Wednesday afternoon down canyon winds pushed smoke from the Hurricane Creek fire into the upper Wallowa Valley. “They don’t call it Hurricane for no reason," Goodrich said.

Firefighters burned the northwest corner of the fire’s perimeter to secure the fire line and protect homes on Hurricane Creek Road.

Goodrich said where the burning took place winds were blowing up canyon, but when the smoke got higher it then flowed down canyon while a thunderstorm moved through the region.

Today firefigthers will continue to burn the rest of the northwest corner, monitor fire line and begin mop up.

Goodrich said it was easy to forget about the Hurricane Creek fire until wind brings smoke into the valley.

A fire broke out Wednesday afternoon on private industrial timber land managed by Hancock, said Matt Howard of the Oregon Department of Forestry. The half-acre fire in Olson Meadows south of the Sled Springs work center and 18 miles north of Enterprise was contained by a dozer line and held by five engines.

The fire started in an active logging site and is under investigation.

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