Fire Watch: Lick Creek, Elbow Creek, Green Ridge Fires span 75,000 acres on Friday

UMATILLA NATIONAL FOREST — Washington state firefighting efforts have been nonstop over the past few weeks as warm and dry conditions contribute to the spread of flames across the Northwest. In Southeast Washington/Northeast Oregon, a variety of serious fires are threatening vegetation, forcing the Umatilla National Forest to close to the public indefinitely.

KAPP-KVEW included updates on the Cedar Creek and Red Apple fires during yesterday’s updates. Today will be focused on the three fires threatening Southern Washington from Umatilla National Forest. If you’d like to hear about those other fires, click the link below:

Additionally, a small wildfire began at the Yakima River Canyon near the site of the Burbank Fire; near the border of Yakima County and Kittitas County. Luckily, fire crews were able to put it out before it spread beyond an estimated five acres. You can read about that by clicking the link below:


LICK CREEK FIRE (Dry Gulch):

The Lick Creek Fire is now 30% contained as of Friday, July 16, 2021. Fire crews have solidified containment lines on the north side of the fire as teams survey the area to identify hotspots and mop up where necessary.

Crews are mopping up and patrolling on the south end of the fire near Road 40. By this point, the fire has spread across 66,601 acres after it began due to a lightning storm on July 7. Dozers and masticators are long the southwest firelines to help reinforce crews’ efforts.

Overall, the total personnel count stands at 686 with 15 crews, 58 engines, 11 dozers, 4 water tenders, and 23 masticators deployed. Authorities say that their primary goal for Friday is to protect at-risk values in the region.


ELBOW CREEK FIRE:

The Umatilla Nation Forest is being ravaged by the Elbow Creek fire, which is burning approximately 31 miles southeast of Walla Walla, WA. It’s burning on both sides of the Grande Ronde River after being first reported on Thursday, July 15. It’s mostly burning grass and timber, which can spread rapidly across certain terrains. Winds and heat contributed to the active fire behavior and rapid spread to the northeast.

Fire crews are putting together anchor points and access areas so they can go in and out of the fire zone effectively to build containment lines. Aerial resources have been deployed to help firefighting efforts across the past two days.

Level 3 evacuation warnings are still in place for the communities of Eden Bench and Troy. Per authorities from the USDA Forest Service and other firefighting agencies in command, evacuations also remain in place for “Wild Cat Road, Powwatka Road and the 500/501 Road up to the 763 Road,”


GREEN RIDGE FIRE (Turkey Tail):

Blue Mountain Fire teams say that the Green Ridge Fire, which has combined with the Turkey Tail Fire, is now 15% contained and has spanned approx. 595 acres up to this point. A total of 280 personnel have responded to the region to assist firefighting efforts including seven crews, six fire engines, three water tenders, a dozer, and a helicopter.

The fire is said to be burning steep and rugged terrain after spreading over 150 acres on Thursday alone. On Friday, fire lines are being established as crews cut through scorched vegetation to establish better lines of attack. Support from aircraft will limit the spread of these flames as firefighters work to establish the perimeter.

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