Fire breaks out in Hells Canyon
JOSEPH — A fire started Wednesday by a lawn mower reached 157 acres before crews and Mother Nature were able to get it under control.
A lawn mower run by a volunteer at a ranch managed by the U.S. Forest Service in Hells Canyon sparked a grass fire that took a fast run up to the top of the ridge. A plane was called in to fight the fire when it reached nearly 50 acres, said Nathan Goodrich, fire management officer for the Wallowa-Whitman north zone.
The Blue Mountain and Sled Springs helitack crews responded to the remote Ranch T on the Snake River and a 10-person hand crew from Enterprise was driven to Dug Bar and taken three miles north to Christmas Creek by jet boat, Goodman said.
“It was a bad spot for access, so it was mostly fought by air,” he said.
Crews burned out around structures which were saved.
Two helicopters dropped buckets of water and got the fire’s spread slowed down, said Goodrich, before rain came in Wednesday night. The fire will be called control by Friday, fire officials said.
Two weeks ago, lightning started a fire on the Washington border and one at Lightning Creek. June rains have been sporadic as has the risk of fire with the ever-changing levels of moisture, but Goodrich said the upcoming forecast is for hot and dry and the zone will be in full fire season.