Fires keep crews busy across the Wallowa-Whitman

Written by Katy Nesbitt/The Observer July 19, 2013 10:25 am

Smoke rises from the 450-acre Cuba Fire, burning on the Idaho side of Hells Canyon. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
Smoke rises from the 450-acre Cuba Fire, burning on the Idaho side of Hells Canyon. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
 

Fires continue to be spotted across Northeast Oregon this week — mostly lightning caused from a storm that crossed the region earlier this week.

The Cuba Fire on the Idaho side of the Snake River was detected July 16 and has grown to 450 acres. Local hand crew and rapellers along with rapellers from Price Valley on the Payette National Forest and the Vale and Wolf Creek hotshots are working the fire.

Nathan Goodrich, Wallowa-Whitman north zone fire management officer, said single- engine air tankers and a type 1 helicopter are helping cool it down.

“The Cuba Fire is still burning, but they are doing pretty good. They contained a couple divisions yesterday and continue to work on a couple sides today,” Goodrich said.

This week, seven of the eight fires on the zone were on public forest and one was on state-controlled land. The only fires that required more than a day or two of suppression were on Mt. Nebo, which started Sunday,  and a small fire on Sheep Ridge outside of Lostine. Goodrich said the crews on the Nebo Fire, which was in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, are being pulled off the line today.

Goodrich said the forecast calls for wind and low pressure this weekend.

“We will see if there are any holdovers that get active with the wind — that’s kind of a good thing — when they pop up we can find them, but then we have to deal with the wind,” said Goodrich.

Monday and Tuesday also call for a slight chance of thunderstorms, according to forecasters.