Blaze grows to 150 acres southwest of Granite

By Baker City Herald August 15, 2013 06:24 am

A wildfire in a wilderness area southwest of Granite has burned about 300 acres.

The fire, near Vinegar Hill in the Greenhorn Mountains of the North Fork John Day Wilderness, was reported about 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Lightning is the likely cause.

The fir is burning on the Umatilla National Forest about nine miles southwest of Granite, and 40 miles southwest of Baker City. 

"Firefighter and public safety are our highest priorities," Bob Varner, North Fork John Day District ranger, said in a press release. "This type of terrain provides limited escape routes and makes direct attack methods extremely hazardous for firefighters."

Two heavy retardant tankers, three single-engine tankers, and two helicopters are working to slow the fire. It was burning Wednesday in stands of subalpine fir, a tree that's especially combustible as it is rich in sap and tends to have limbs growing all the way to the ground.