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Progress, but fifth home lost to NE Oregon wildfire


Fire crews working in northeast Oregon and southeast Washington made good progress Saturday in their efforts to contain the 61,150-acre Grizzly Bear Complex Fire that has now destroyed at least five homes, officials said Sunday.

“Weather, terrain, fire behavior and safety concerns still present many challenges for firefighters,” the Sunday update said. “The fire is burning in two states and five counties, and across multiple land ownerships.”

On Saturday, crews took advantage of lighter winds and better conditions to conduct small burnout operations that reinforced fire lines along the south end of the fire.

Firefighters are simultaneously building primary containment lines and contingency lines in this area, due to terrain and heavy fuels.

Crews reported that a barn full of hay was destroyed, but they were able to save the home and a garage on the property. A primary residence in the Eden Bench area also burned Saturday.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal Green Team added a fifth task force from Union County Saturday to help with the structure protection in the communities of Troy, Grouse Flats, Eden Bench, and Bartlett. Those task forces will continue to coordinate with wildland resources assigned to those areas.

Representatives from OSFM will also be working those areas to determine the number and locations of primary structures and outbuildings lost, which is currently estimated at five homes and 28 other structures.

This data will also be utilized by the Red Cross to help those who have suffered loss with disaster recovery. There will be three task forces working the day shift and two at night.

Sunday’s weather forecast was for extremely dry conditions, unstable air and a Red Flag Warning. Active and potentially extreme fire behavior is possible on the east and northeast portions of the fire. Heavy smoke is expected in the region again Sunday, and a larger smoke column is possible during the active burning period in late afternoon.

Fire officials planned two community meetings on Sunday. The first one will be held at the Anatone Community Hall in Anatone, Wash., at 3 p.m., and the second one at the Flora School in Flora, Ore., at 6 p.m.

Evacuation levels remain the same for communities impacted by the Grizzly Bear Complex fire, and due to the Red Flag Warning, those levels are not expected to be eased today. A detailed map of the areas under Evacuation level orders is available on the fire’s Inciweb and Facebook pages. .

Quick Facts:

Fire Complex Size: 61,150 acres
Fire Start Date: August 13, 2015
Location: 20 miles SE of Dayton, WA, burning on Umatilla National Forest and private lands protected by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry and Washington Dept. of Natural Resources.
Hazards: Rapid fire growth with crowning, spotting and wind-driven runs, unauthorized drone flights.
Values at Risk: Public safety, Communities of Troy, Grouse Flats, Eden Bench; Long Meadows Guard Station; Historic Hoodoo lookout, communications facilities.
Cause: Lightning
Containment: 0%
Personnel: 482
Resources: 5 Crews, 41 Engines, 1 Helicopter (Type 3), 5 Structural Task Forces
Structures Lost: 33- 5 residences and 28 outbuildings

Evacuation Levels:
Level 1: Be alert to situation.
Level 2: Be ready to evacuate.
Level 3: Leave immediately.

A Red Cross Shelter is located at Enterprise High School, 201 SE 4th St in Enterprise, phone 541-519-2360


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