Cache Creek fire 90 percent contained

By By Katy Nesbitt The Observer September 05, 2012 02:13 pm

The 73,500 acre Cache Creek Fire on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is 90 percent contained. As of Tuesday morning the fire’s administration was transferred to a local team headquartered at Thomason Meadows.

Monday, burnout inside the containment lines continued in the Five Points drainage of the Imnaha River and crews mopped up 100 feet inside the fire line. The burnout put up smoke columns visible from Joseph and other locations around the fire. 

Rehabilitation of hand and dozer lines continued along the west to south containment lines, along with chipping cut material along roads on both private and public lands near Buckhorn Butte.

Air patrol and engines kept a watchful eye on the northern and western perimeters. Water tenders worked in tandem with a road grader to maintain and repair fire traffic use of the Zumwalt Road. The water tenders also continued hauling water to refill private landowners’ stock ponds used as water sources in suppressing the fire.

The northern portion of the fire is being monitored by air. Engines will mop up and patrol the western perimeter, and an excavator will be rehabilitating the fire lines in that area. 

In the southwest area of the fire, crews will build direct fire line where possible and use helicopter support with water drops as needed.

While the Lower Imnaha Road/Dug Bar Road is now open (Forest Service Road 4260), citizens are encouraged to avoid traveling in this area due to the potential congestion from the continuing fire suppression traffic.

The Forest Area Closure (Wallowa-Whitman National Forest) has been revised allowing recreationists to camp within ¼ mile of the river’s edge along the Snake River in Oregon between the Washington/Oregon state line on the north and the Imnaha River on the south. The Area Closure was also expanded with the Avista Powerline road becoming the closure boundary on the south end of the fire. A map and description of the Forest Closure can be found at or

A partial closure of Forest Service Road 46 remains in place. An alternate route is available to detour around the fire area. Road guards are staffing road blocks limiting public access into the fire area for both firefighter and public safety. The need for the closures will be assessed daily and removed as soon as possible.