Smoke screens the Wallowa Mountains Monday, July 12, 2021. Area officials say the smoke is largely from the massive Bootleg Fire in the Klamath Basin, but two large fires, combining to have burned about 160,000 as of Wednesday, are burning adjacent to Wallowa County in Washington and Idaho.

ENTERPRISE — Two major fires burning adjacent to Wallowa County are continuing to grow in size.

And one of them is concerning enough that Level 1 Evacuation notices have been issued in the northern edge of the county.

The Lick Creek Fire, burning in Garfield and Asotin counties in Washington, is up to 63,533 acres, and is 20% contained, according to an update from Pacific Northwest Team 3. More than 650 individuals are working that blaze, which is burning in the northern edge of the Umatilla National Forest. According to the update, fire lines in the north and east are holding.

The fire's south edge is currently about 10 miles north of the Oregon/Washington border, and crews are focusing their attention on the southern edge of the blaze, PNW Team 3 Information Officer Chelsea Kallery said.

"There is some action down in the southeast corner there," Kallery said. "They were watching for spot fires (overnight). They are keeping their awareness in the area.

"On the other side of the south there is some movement because of the direction of the wind (at) the southwest corner going into the forest. That area is where they are focusing a lot of energy. ... They are trying to make a movement (to the southwest corner) to get it before it gets into even steeper terrain."

She said winds from the north have been pushing south, calling that a "driver" for the fire. A potential shift, though, could serve to be a major benefit.

"There is a possibility of a change in the wind this evening. That has the potential to turn it back around and turn it in the other direction," she said, noting that could turn the fire back on itself. "That would be favorable."

The Wallowa County Sheriff's Office posted to its Facebook page late Wednesday morning that Level 1 Evacuation (Be Ready) has been initiated for the Bartlett Bench and Grouse Flat area to the north of Troy.

A Level 1 alert, according to the U.S. Forest Service, warns that a wildfire threat is in the area, and advises to consider planning and/or packing for evacuation.

The larger of the two fires, the Snake River Complex in Nez Perce County, Idaho, has grown to 96,162 acres, according to an update Wednesday, July 14, from the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 4.

The fire grew by close to 8,000 acres since July 13, and remains at 0% contained. A crew of 339 is battling the blaze, which currently has a barrier on its west side the Snake River and to the south east the Salmon River in Idaho. It spread July 13 in the south toward the confluence of those rivers, a map of the fire shows. It also grew in its northeast region.

A third smaller fire, the Green Ridge Fire, is burning to the west of the Lick Creek Fire. It currently has burned 392 acres and is 10% contained.

The Green Ridge Fire is also burning in the Umatilla National Forest, but Kallery said there currently isn't worry of the new fires, still several miles apart, merging.

"At this point, that is not a concern," she said.

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