The fire is burning in light grassy fuels in the canyons, and threatening wheat fields on the flat ground above the canyon rims. Gilliam County has been coordinating structure protection for the scattered ranches in the area, while wildland firefighting crews have been working with helicopters and Single Engine Air Tankers to stop the fire's progress.
A Type 3 Incident Management Team (Priest) will assume command of the fire today and will continue to operate under unified command with Gilliam County.
Crews will continue to be challenged by the steep slopes, light and dry fuels, and afternoon gusty winds. Central Oregon is in a drying and warming trend, which will add to the potential for increased fire behavior, particularly in the afternoons.
The John Day River and Cottonwood Canyon State Park remain open at this time.
Although the fire is believed to be human-caused, the specific cause has not been identified and is being investigated. Fire officials want to remind visitors that fire restrictions are in place along the John Day River. Campfires and charcoal fires are banned, and visitors should only use gas or propane stoves. In addition, people traveling through on Highway 206 or 19 should watch for increased traffic due to fire vehicles in the area.