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Fire Update: Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Two fires began in Umatilla County on Tuesday, June 13, 2023: The Hat Rock Fire and the Mt. Hebron Fire. Red Flag Warnings were in effect with high winds contributing to rapid fire growth — exhausting local resources. Governor Tina Kotek declared a conflagration on the evening of June 13th, mobilizing the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) Green Incident Management Team (IMT) led by Incident Commander Lance Lighty and six task forces from Clackamas, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, and Yamhill counties. Three task forces and the IMT arrived last night and began integrating and relieving local crews to continue operations throughout the night on both fires. Transfer of command occurred at 07:00 AM this morning with the arrival of an additional three task forces. OSFM is collaborating closely with the Oregon Department of Forestry, who is assisting through an excellent partnership by providing air resources and personnel to battle these fires.

When asked about the progress made, Chief Scott Stanton of Umatilla County Fire District #1 stated, “We couldn’t have done it without the farmers disking line and the large community of volunteers who immediately responded.” There are no reported injuries at this time and the cause of both fires is still under investigation.

Hat Rock Fire:

On Tuesday, June 13, 2023 at 10:59 AM, Umatilla County Fire District #1 was dispatched to a brush fire at the intersection of Highway 37 and Highway 730. Upon arrival, crews came across a rapidly moving fire through grass and sage brush. Mutual aid resources were quickly dispatched and Umatilla County Sheriff issued Level 1 and later Level 2 evacuation notices for Hat Rock State Park and RV Park. ODOT and OSP were dispatched to assist in road closures. The Office of the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) activated a KMAX helicopter through immediate response to assist in fire operations with funding that was made available from Senate Bill 762. The fire spread NE, reaching the Oregon/Washington border by nightfall, pushing the fire through Juniper Canyon into Washington. The fire is now estimated at 15,000 acres in Oregon and the fire remains active as crews continue to strengthen containment lines and monitor flare-ups.

Mt. Hebron Fire:

On Tuesday, June 13, 2023 at 2:08 PM, Pendleton Fire and Ambulance was dispatched to a brush fire NE of Pendleton near Hwy 11. Additional mutual aid resources were quickly dispatched and several crews from the Hat Rock Fire were reassigned to the fast-moving fire. Local resources were able to stop progress of the fire and by nightfall reported 99% containment at an estimated 600 acres. Resources remained on scene throughout the night and were supplemented by a responding state task force before transfer of command this morning.

Crews worked throughout the night to strengthen containment lines, put out hot spots, and build contingencies on both fires, with no additional reported growth during the night. The Hat Rock Fire does remain active in Washington and is being managed under the Benton Complex Fire. While the strongest winds have passed, winds are expected to continue throughout the day — out of the West-Southwest, 15-20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. Winds are expected to decrease into the evening with a passing cold front decreasing temperature and allowing for good recoveries in relative humidity (RH). Evacuation levels remain in effect at this time. For up to date information on evacuation levels, please refer to the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office Facebook Page.

Mutual aid provided to Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District were Echo Fire Department, Irrigon Fire Department, Boardman Fire Rescue District, Pendleton Fire & Ambulance, Pilot Rock Fire District, East Umatilla County Rural Fire Protection District, Oregon Department of Forestry, Umatilla Tribal Fire Department, Gilliam County Fire Services – Oregon, U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs, Heppner Fire Department, Oregon Department of Forestry and Oregon National Guard – Oregon Military Department.

UCFD #1 Facebook Page:

For updates and information contact:

Nickolas Oatley


Public Information Officer

Umatilla County Fire District #1