Monday update: 56,500-acre fire 40 percent contained

<p>Elane Dickenson/Chieftain</p> <p>Beau Wicklander of Joseph examines a map of the Cache Creek Fire at the Joseph Information Booth Sunday, when the acreage was reported at 43,000. As of Monday morning the fire covered 56,000 acres, but was reported as 40 percent contained.</p>

Variable winds Sunday challenged firefighters and deterred burnouts on the Cache Creek Fire. The overnight infrared flight estimated that the size of the fire is now at 56,506 acres.

As of 8 a.m. Monday morning, the fire is 40 percent contained.

The number of people now working on containing the fire is 822, and the release of resources determined as excess to operational needs has begun.

Heavy smoke was visible in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho communities yesterday and will continue today due to a cold front and high wind flows in the fire area.

The operational plan for today is to hold Road 4680, mop-up, and begin rehabilitating containment lines. On the south flank of the fire, preparations along the 46 Road and Cemetery Ridge, as well as Eureka Ridge will begin today.

The closure of County Road 209 (Snake River Drive) by Asotin County Sheriff’s Department remains in place, as do the Forest Closures by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. A map and description of the Forest Closure can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman or www.inciweb.org/incident/3202

Road guards are staffing road blocks limiting public access into the fire area for both firefighter and public safety.

With opening of archery hunting season in Oregon over the weekend, all hunters and recreationists are cautioned to watch for the increased amount of firefighting traffic. In addition, all visitors are asked to be very conscientious of the extreme fire danger.

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