The Blackburn Fire is burning well to the south of Mosier, putting out a large smoke plume visible from many parts of the Fire District.
Based on calls, emails, and website traffic the community has some concerns about this fire.
Briefly, the fire poses little or no threat to the Mosier area at this time, although the Fire Chief continues to monitor it with some concern.
Three fires started Friday afternoon, 8/16, from an intense lightning cell which saw 57 ground strikes in half an hour in a twenty square mile area. Two fires on the north end of the complex were contained within about 24 hours and are not likely to grow. The southern fire is the one which continues to expand aggressively, and it is proving to be a nasty piece of work due to dry fuels, high wind, difficult access, and steep terrain. The number of personnel and air attack resources continues to grow with the fire. Stories from the fire line paint this as one of the most difficult and dangerous fires in this area in recent memory.
Here is a web page which links to a map which is updated daily. Click on the “PDF plot” link in the box on the right. When the map finishes loading, zoom in on The Dalles. The fire map is at low resolution, but it gives a clear idea of where the fire is. The fire is south of Mill Creek, and its active flanks are running south and east, away from Mosier.
Here’s another web page with current fire info, though the maps are not typically updated. If you see a map showing three separate fires, as of 8/19 the two fires to the north are contained, though they may still put off smoke.
As of Monday August 19, there is minimal cause for concern in the Mosier Valley, Wasco Lookout, and Seven Mile areas. The smoke column looks very close, but in reality it’s about ten miles south of town and about four miles from anyplace where it could enter one of our drainages.
Mosier Fire crews are at full staffing in the District and your fire and EMS services are rested and ready.
Please call or email the Fire Chief if you have further questions or concerns.
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UPDATE 4PM 8/19:
The Blackburn Fire made a significant run to the west today. It is still south of Mill Creek, but it has moved about two miles upwind and to the west, up over Breeds Flat.
This is a worrisome development, as it brings the fire to within about two miles of the Mosier Creek drainage, although it would still have to descend from Breeds Flat and cross Mill Creek Road to reach our drainage.
Stay tuned. This fire is a long way from contained and we could yet see fire.
Let’s hope for success with the State conflagration team.