Pendleton, OR- An aggressively burning wildfire is threatening homes and has had Interstate 84 closed for several hours in Northeast Oregon. Level 3 evacuations have been issued both North and South of the interstate for homes near Deadman Pass. The Weigh Station fire has burned over 700 acres as of 8:00 p.m. and is 0% contained. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Gusty winds and dry fuel conditions are helping to drive the fire. The fire behavior has moderated some with sunset, but the fire is still burning actively in timber and grass. The fire made aggressive runs and displayed group torching in timber stands of Ponderosa pine this afternoon.
As the fire is burning actively near I-84, the freeway is closed both east bound and west bound. Oregon Department of Transportation reports that the freeway is closed eastbound at Exit 216 in Pendleton. The freeway is also closed westbound to all traffic at Exit 302 in Baker City. Passenger cars are being permitted to travel westbound between Ontario and Baker City. For up to date information concerning closures, please check www.tripcheck.com.
Local resources on the fire include nine Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs), one heavy air tanker, two helicopters, one air attack, one lead plane, three dozers, more than 12 engines, one hot shot crew, and various overhead personnel. Firefighters from Umatilla County, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), United States Forest Service (USFS) and Oregon Department of forestry are battling the blaze. The fire is burning on lands protected by and is being managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry.
Objectives for tonight including completing containment lines and strengthening lines by firing along them. The Blue Mountain Type 3 Interagency Incident Management Team is taking command of the fire tomorrow morning.
The near-term weather report calls for warm temperatures and a chance of thunderstorms. The public is reminded that ODF is currently in Regulated Use Closure in Northeast Oregon. Fire managers recommend that recreationists and travelers check the fire regulations before heading out to enjoy the forest.
http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/ is your spot for current fire information in the Blue Mountains.