Thursday will be a crucial day in firefighters' efforts to slow the spread of the Blackburn Fire, one of three fires in the Government Flat Complex. Yesterday, the plume-dominated fire grew to 11,040 acres as easterly, up-canyon winds pushed the fire to the west. Overall containment of the Complex remains at 15 percent.
Fire behavior analysts indicate that conditions today will be at critical levels, with potential for extreme fire behavior and rapid rates of spread. The fire is expected to be plume-dominated (developed column overriding the local environmental influences)and slope driven, again today. Strong winds out of the west are forecasted beginning in the late afternoon with gusts of 20 mph or more. These winds, combined with steep canyon slopes will challenge firefighters attempting to contain the Blackburn Fire.
The night operations section chief stated at Thursday morning's briefing that "the one thing constant with this incident is change." This is a good reminder for firefighters and affected residents to remain vigilant at all times.
Firelines continue to hold on the north, east, and south sides of the blaze. However, fire officials believe it is possible that the fire will move further to the west, north to Ketchum Road and Thompson Point.
Objectives for today are to continue mopping up on the north, east, and south sides of the Blackburn Fire. Where new firelines have been established on the west and northwest sides, burn-out activities may be conducted. Priorities for fire officials are to limit impacts to private lands, structures, public lands, major BPA transmission lines and protection of the City of The Dalles Watershed and water treatment plant.