FIRES SPREAD THROUGHOUT WEST

August 14, 2001 11:00 pm
FLAMES CONSUME TRUCK: A log truck and its load succumbs to flames Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Forest Raod 21 and Highway 244, about 17 miles west of Hilgard State Park. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
FLAMES CONSUME TRUCK: A log truck and its load succumbs to flames Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Forest Raod 21 and Highway 244, about 17 miles west of Hilgard State Park. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

TRUCK FIRE SPARKS QUICK RESPONSE

By The Observer

STARKEY A moving torch traveling down Forest Service Road 21 Tuesday afternoon from the Starkey Experimental Forest was stopped after igniting four small fires. But the torch a log truck and its load was destroyed by the fire.

According to the

La Grande fire control center, the unidentified log truck driver and a lookout at Johnson Rock Lookout reported the burning truck at 2:20 p.m. The lookout had seen the smoke from the truck and the smoke from the small fires beginning to burn behind it.

The response to the intersection of Road 21 and Highway 244 was rapid. Equipment that responded and helped fight the fire included three Forest Service engines; five Oregon Forestry fire engines; two engines, a skidder and a dozer from nearby logging contractors; a helicopter from the Frasier helibase not far from Ukiah; and a fixed-wing aircraft in the area.

The burning deck of logs had lit three fires along Forest Service Road 21 along a 3.2 miles stretch of road, according to the fire centers report, as well as one at the point were the truck stopped. All the fires were contained at five acres or less.

The log truck driver escaped without injury, officials said.

The cause of the fire is being investigated. Early suspicions, a fire center spokesman said, are that the trucks exhaust might have ignited the logs.

FIRE IN STEEP TERRAIN NEAR IMNAHA SCORCHES 500 ACRES

By The Observer

Four new small wildfires started in the Northeast Oregon area Tuesday, including one of 500 acres in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area near Imnaha.

The fire in steep terrain between the Imnaha River and Horse Creek was burning grass and some timber, said Dave Quinn, manager of the interagency fire center in La Grande.

It is moving and spreading but not real intense, Quinn said. Its in steep terrain and we cant get crews into the site.

A crew of 10 was on hand, with 20 more firefighters on the way, he said.

We were using two tankers on it Tuesday, and today well use the tankers, several engines and helicopters, Quinn said.

Two of the small starts were in the Baker area and there was one other in the Wallowa district, Quinn said.