WARM SPRINGS, Ore. - The 10-day-old, more than 40,000-acre Shaniko Butte Fire was 80 percent contained by late Wednesday, with the firefighting force dropping below 300 and full containment predicted Sunday night.
In a late Wednesday update at the fire's InciWeb site (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3960/), officials said a recent drop in acreage to 40,575 was due to more accurate mapping.
They said the wetting rain on the fire prevented burnout operations, which will be discontinued as fire lines firm up. Mop-up of the burned-out perimeter and rehabilitation work was under way
A mixed blessing came from the new storms as the Shaniko Butte Fire received a quarter-inch of rain Tuesday -- but the storms also hit the Warm Springs Reservation area with 900 lightning strikes. Here's Wednesday's update.
Shaniko Butte Daily Update
Wed., July 23rd, 7:30 a.m.
The Shaniko Butte Fire received a quarter-inch of rain on Tuesday afternoon from a thunderstorm that also produced a powerful display of lightning and thunder. Close to 900 strikes were detected on and near the Warm Springs Reservation. Firefighters will be on the lookout today and throughout the week for possible "sleeper" fires from lightning strikes that begin to show up when the fuels start drying out.
Today's weather forecast continues yesterday's Red Flag Warning for intense thunderstorms.
All notifications regarding possible evacuations with respect to the Shaniko Butte Fire have been lifted, and all road closures have been removed.
In the face of changing weather conditions, the Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team #1 has altered their strategy for boxing in the fire. Rather than burning out along the steep two-mile dozer line from the top of the Mutton Mountains, they will instead establish a fireline near the Mutton Mountain ridgeline and tie it into the fire scar left by last year's Sunnyside Fire. The Team now intends to use that burned area as a fire break.
The medium-lift helicopter assigned to the Shaniko Butte Fire has been reassigned to the Logging Unit Fires.
The reported acreage of the fire was reduced by nearly 2,000 acres when the smoke lifted and it was realized that the unburned area in the southeast portion of the fire is larger than the original estimate.
Fire at a Glance
Size: 40,575 acres
Location: 15 miles north of the town of Warm Springs, Oregon
Cause: Started by lightning on Sunday, July 13, 2014
Assigned personnel: 313
1 Heavy-lift KMAX helicopter
1 Light-lift helicopter
Fire Information Number: 541-553-8190
Fire Information E-Mail: Shaniko.Butte@gmail.com