WALLOWA COUNTY — The latest infrared mapping on the Elbow Creek Fire burning in northwestern Wallowa County has its size at 18,599 acres, according to the latest update Wednesday, July 21, from the Type 1 ODF Incident Management Team 3 continuing to fight the blaze. Containment of the fire is estimated at about 20%.

According to a press release, additional resources are being brought in to help with firefighting efforts. The blaze has moved up the priority scale given its growth and complexity as it continues to burn in challenging terrain. 

The size of the crew has increased to 469. Link Smith, incident commander for the team, said during a community meeting in Wallowa Tuesday night there could be as many as 800-900 firefighters working to quell the fire in the coming days. 

Cooler conditions Tuesday and rain overnight is being seen as an opportunity to get an upperhand on the fire. The Elbow Creek area continues to be an area of concern after the fire jumped the waterway Tuesday and continues to burn to the northwest. 

"Crews are also going direct where they can in the Sickfoot and Deep Creek drainages, while planning for burnout operations where direct fire line construction in steep canyons is not an option," the update states. "The north and east sides of the fire have not moved within the past few days and firefighters continue to mop up and patrol the area."

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