CREWS BEGIN MOP UP

July 22, 2002 11:00 pm
MONUMENT FIRE BURNOUT: A LaGrande Hot Shots firefighter keeps tabs on the crew's burnout operation on the Monument Fire.This procedure improves the defensibility of the fireline by removing unburned fuel between the fireline and the active fire front. (Photo/Jay Esperance).
MONUMENT FIRE BURNOUT: A LaGrande Hot Shots firefighter keeps tabs on the crew's burnout operation on the Monument Fire.This procedure improves the defensibility of the fireline by removing unburned fuel between the fireline and the active fire front. (Photo/Jay Esperance).

Two fires ignited by lightning in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest have not grown over the past 24 hours, and mop up is expected to begin today.

The Anthony Creek Fire north of Anthony Lakes remains at one acre and is 100 percent lined, and the Lake Ford Fire, near Homestead, has not grown from its approximate size of 40 to 45 acres. About 130 people are working the fire, and mop up will continue today. No new fires were reported today.

The Monument Complex nine miles southwest of Unity, at 24,700 acres, is 30 percent contained, with 881 people assigned to the fire.

"Today is critical in the operations to get a hold on the fire while favorable weather conditions remain," said Jeff Pendleton, operations section chief.

Fire crews have been able to hold existing containment lines and mop up hot spots in the fire's interior. Today, crews will build containment lines on the northwest side of the fire and will use explosives to create a fire line along the northeast section. The crews are supported by helicopters dropping water on the blaze.

Joining the fire crews are about 550 soldiers from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., who are being trained today in entrapment and shelter deployment. After training, the soldiers will be assigned to fireline construction and mop up, said Gail Lee, spokeswoman for the Wallowa-Whitman Forest.

Two other fires are burning in the Malheur National Forest: the Malheur complex at 8,211 acres, and the Flagtail Incident at 7,600 acres. The Flagtail fire is 55 percent contained.

— Alice Perry Linker