The 3-acre Cow Fire on the Prairie City Ranger District started Aug. 9 as a result of multiple lightning storms that moved across the forest. The fire is burning in the remote high elevation area within the Glacier (1998) and Sheep Mountain (1990) fire scars.
Fire management staff are utilizing a new tool to monitor the Cow Fire called the Remote Autonomous Observation System. The system includes two cameras observing the fire. One is focused on a specific section, and one is providing a panoramic view of fire area. RAOS will allow for 24-hour observation and can be viewed by several fire managers from multiple devices including laptops and tablets.
Computer modeling is also being employed to help anticipate fire spread. The latest modeling has shown low potential for rapid or significant growth. Some of the factors fire management staff have taken into consideration in determining growth on the Cow Fire include past fire scars, fuel conditions and the position of the fire on the slope. The observed fire behavior to date has been very low intensity smoldering and creeping.
Fire management staff will utilize the Remote Autonomous Observation System, aircraft, ground crews and computer modeling to monitor the fire.
As long as conditions are favorable the Cow Fire will be allowed to continue to function in its natural role on the landscape.
Smoke is expected to be seen from the area over the next few weeks as temperatures remain warm and fuels dry out. Visitors to the area are reminded to be prepared for smoke and increased fire traffic.
Fire danger is high across the forest, which is in Phase A of public use restrictions and at Industrial Fire Precaution Level II.
For more information on this incident, visit Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6526. To report wildfires, call 911 or John Day Interagency Dispatch at 541-575-1321 or Burns Interagency Communications Center at 541-573-1000.