More than 10,000 Acres Burn in Wildfire at Hat Rock State Park

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A massive fire in the Hat Rock State Park area burned more than 10,000 acres on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of UCFD #1)

The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation notice for areas in Juniper Canyon along Hartle, Wallula and Hatchgrade roads due to the Hat Rock Fire burning Tuesday, June 13, in northern Umatilla County stands at approximately 10,000 acres.

This is not a mandatory evacuation, but a notice of immediate evacuation, which means occupants are being requested and instructed to leave the area now for their own safety.

Deputies and search and rescue members are going door to door advising occupants to evacuate the area, the sheriff’s office reported. The city of Hermiston opened the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center for anyone evacuated who may need shelter.

Only one family spent Tuesday night at EOTEC, Alan Underkofler said. Underkofler, the Red Cross shelter manager, said a mother and her two children showed up late Tuesday and left early Wednesday. Underkofler said they were concerned about smoke.

The Red Cross will continue to be at EOTEC throughout Wednesday if anyone needs a safe place to stay.

EOTEC is at 1705 E. Airport Road, Hermiston.

The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal has mobilized six task forces and the OSFM Green Incident Management Team to the Hat Rock Fire as well as the Mount Hebron Fire in Pendleton, according to the latest update from Umatilla County Fire District No. 1. And this evening, Gov. Tina Kotek declared a conflagration for the Hat Rock Fire and Mount Hebron Fire in Umatilla County.

Residents of Hat Rock RV Park no longer are under an evacuation notice and may return to their homes.

“There could be hot spots that flare up through the night,” according to the fire district, “so if you see anything please do contact us or the Hat Rock Park ranger.”

The total area burned is estimated around 10,000 acres and is in Juniper Canyon heading toward. the Washington state line.

The high winds and low visibility have grounded the K-MAX helicopter from La Grande and two aircraft the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent to fight the blaze.

Umatilla County Fire District #1 reported it received a callout at 10:59 a.m. for a brush fire on Highway 730 near Highway 37. The fire district reported its crews are battling the fire in multiple divisions along Highway 730, and numerous local agencies are assisting.

The fire promoted the closure of Highway 730 near the state park.

Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District, Echo Fire Department, Irrigon Fire Department, Boardman Fire Rescue District, Pendleton Fire and Ambulance, Pilot Rock Rural Fire Protection District, East Umatilla County Rural Fire Protection District and Umatilla Tribal Fire Department each sent crews and equipment to the Hat Rock Fire.

The Walla Walla Fire Department, Oregon Department of Forestry, Gilliam County Fire Services, Oregon and Oregon National Guard also have provided resources.

The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office reported it activated the county’s Emergency Operation Center at noon to assist in monitoring the ongoing fires in the region and coordinate response efforts.

The National Weather Service in Pendleton on June 12 a fire weather watch for June 13 for Gilliam, Morrow and Umatilla counties. The NWS changed that June 13 to a Red Flag Warning that is in effect until 9 p.m.

“Firefighters are being challenged by gusty winds and low relative humidity,” according to the State Fire Marshal, which also asks everyone to pay attention to these conditions and take the necessary precautions to avoid sparking a fire.

Wind and low relative humidity, as well as a strong cold front moving across the Pacific Northwest are contributing factors to the red flag warning, according to the NWS.

The forecast calls for temperatures up to 88 degrees with relative humidity as low as 27%, according to NWS. Winds are projected to blow westward at 25-35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.

“A cold front will sweep across the forecast area on this afternoon resulting in increasing westerly winds combined with low relative humidities,” the Weather Service reported.

Walla Walla Fire Department provided mutual aid.

This fire has officially been named as the Hat Rock Fire.

Individuals in the three counties should check the National Weather Service website for forecasts and possible red flag warnings.

ODOT reported drivers should check TripCheck.com or call 511/800-977-6368 for updates. Outside of Oregon, call 503-588-2941.

1 COMMENT

  1. How many local water tenders are available for action to help stop fires. Follow the dollars..compare a daily water tender rate (private companies) against the local, county, and state agencies. Why is Koteks state government against private industry?

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