Silver Creek Fire 60 percent contained

By Katy Nesbitt / The Observer August 16, 2013 07:14 am

Wallowa-Whitman North Zone fire crews have been busy putting out lightning strike fires while they are small this past week.

Mark Moeller, assistant fire management officer for the zone said firefighters responded to five or six fires in the past few days that were “spot-sized” or single trees that have been put out.

The Silver Creek Fire in the Eagle Cap Wilderness started Aug. 14 is on Traverse Ridge between the Lostine River and Silver Creek 12 miles outside of Lostine. Moeller said it was stopped at 5 acres and is 60 percent contained.

The Forest Service responded to the wilderness fire with three single engine air tankers, a Type 1 helicopter,the Sled Springs helicopter, and 38 personnel, including rapellers, a zone hand crew and a contract crew that were flown in to the remote region.

A settlement of a lawsuit settled last year between the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics and the Forest Service prohibits retardant from being used within a 300-foot buffer of water ways, in this case, Silver Creek. Moeller said the fire was on top of the ridge, allowing them to safely use retardant to cool down the fire and avoid the drainage.

 

There was no lightning recorded in the zone Thursday night, but Mohler said there is some in the forecast for today and Saturday.