The Granite Gulch fire, burning in the Eagle Cap Wilderness for the past month, has been more active with this week's warm, dry weather, producing smoke plumes visible from the Baker and Grande Ronde valleys. The fire is estimated at 2,000 acres.
The fire, sparked by lightning on July 14 and reported to the Forest Service July 28, is moving primarily to the west. Firefighters are actively managing the fire with a confinement strategy – limiting it to the upper reaches of the Minam River valley, well within the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
From August 9-14, the fire moved half a mile to the west and has remained to the north of the Minam River, as planned. For the remainder of the fire season, firefighters will continue to use suppression tactics to meet multiple objectives:
• Keeping the fire contained to specific areas of the wilderness
• Allowing the fire to play a natural role in maintaining the ecosystem
• Reducing hazardous fuels and the potential for future wilderness wildfires to burn onto general forest or private lands
• Reducing the risk that future wildfires pose to the public and firefighters
Forest visitors who plan to travel through the upper Minam River area should contact the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Wallowa Mountains Office at (541) 426-5546. Advisory signs have been posted at trailheads; there are currently no trail or area closures, but there may be a need for future closures to protect public health and safety.
Please call 911 if you spot a wildfire. Fire danger remains HIGH and Public Use Restrictions (Phase A) remain in effect across the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.