ENTERPRISE — This summer’s Elbow Creek Fire cost more than $25 million to suppress, according to a spokeswoman for the Umatilla National Forest on Monday, Oct. 4.
“Our records show the cost-to-date is $25.3 million,” said Darcy Weseman, public affairs officer for the forest.
The fire started on the afternoon of July 15 in an area along the Grande Ronde River upriver from Troy. At one point, the fire was burning nearly 23,000 acres in northern Wallowa County. More than 1,000 firefighters were mustered to fight the blaze in steep terrain as it covered the county with smoke for weeks. As of Aug. 2, the fire was 95% contained and extinguished not long after.
At present, Weseman said, the cause of the blaze is still under investigation. It has been speculated the cause could have been human-related or that it was a “sleeper” — a smoldering tree from lightning strikes about a week earlier.