Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Outlook: USFS National Forests in California

Regional Fire Situation and Outlook

National Forests in California
July 22, 2009

A high pressure system continues to dominate the weather pattern in California resulting in high temperatures and low humidity, especially in the inland areas of the state. These hot and dry conditions are resulting in increased fire danger. On July 23, 2009 forecasts indicate that wide spread lightning is likely to begin in the eastern Sierra Nevada . The thunderstorms may continue through the weekend and are likely to result in increased initial attack in the area. Coastal areas are expected to remain cooler than inland portions of the state and should experience a light marine layer in the mornings through the next seven days.
Forest Service Initial Attack Resources:

Availability of Forest Service initial attack resources fluctuates on a daily basis due to staffing schedules, vehicle maintenance, and firefighter commitment to ongoing incidents. The numbers reported below reflect a “snapshot” of Forest Service resource availability in California as of 10:00 am on the day this report is disseminated.

* Engines: 154
* Hotshot Crews: 13
* Type 2 Initial Attack hand crews: 6
* Type 2 hand crews: 13
* Helicopters: 22

Out of Region Support:

During the past week, Region 5 has dispatched more than 75 overhead/management firefighters, 3 Helicopters, 1 Air Attack Aircraft, 4 Hotshot Crews, and one engine outside of California to assist with wildfire management operations in Alaska, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada.

Current Significant Incidents:

Backbone Fire, Six Rivers National Forest , Shasta-Trinity National Forest , Klamath National Forest

The Backbone Fire is currently 6,324 acres and is 85% contained. The fire is burning on the Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests approximately 36 miles northeast of Willow Creek in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Due to the complexity of the fire situation the Atlanta based National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) assumed command of the fire under Incident Commander George Custer Wednesday July 8th. The fire is burning within the footprint of the1999 Megram Fire. Forest Service officials are working closely with the Hoopa Tribe and keeping tribal members and fire service personnel updated on the Backbone Fire. Protection of cultural sites within the fire area is a priority. Full containment is projected to occur July 24, 2009.
Resources Currently Assigned:

* 4 Type 1 Hand Crews
* 2 Type 2 Hand Crews
* 7 Helicopters
* 2 Engines
* 9 Water Tenders
* 368 Total personnel

Backbone Fire Rappel Incident, Willow Creek , California

Firefighters are mourning the loss of their comrade Thomas (TJ) Marovich, Jr., 20, who incurred fatal injuries after an approximately 200 foot fall on Tuesday. The accident occurred during routine rappel training out of a Bell 212 helicopter, at the Backbone Helibase in Willow Creek.

Backbone fire personnel are deeply saddened by the accident and are having a small memorial as a tribute to Marovich's life at 9:30 am today at the Backbone Fire Incident Command Post. Firefighters and local residents have been invited and are expected to attend.

Critical Incident Stress Debrief teams will be on hand to counsel those closest to the victim and the accident to make sure they have an opportunity to work through their grief.

The Forest Service mobilized a serious accident investigation team who is working with the National Transportation Safety Board. The investigation team will be in-briefed at 6pm this afternoon.
Tennant Fire, Klamath National Forest

The Tennant Fire is currently 4,168 acres and is 70% contained. The fire started on July 19, 2009 and is burning approximately seven miles south of Macdoel , California . The fire is primarily burning east of State Highway 97. Highway 97 is a major travel route for commerce, recreation, and commuters and is being monitored for smoke impacts. Old State Highway 97 has reopened to the public but with reduced speed through the fire area. Firefighters continue to make good progress strengthening and holding fire containment lines. Full containment is projected to occur July 25, 2009.
Resources Currently Assigned

* 13 Type 1 Hand Crews
* 7 Type 2 Hand Crews
* 5 Helicopters
* 72 Engines
* 27 Dozers
* 10 Water Tenders
* 883 Total Personnel

Forks Fire, Sequoia National Forest

The Forks Fire is currently 3,268 acres and is 85% contained. A total of 26 lightning fires were ignited on the Inyo National Forest on Saturday, July 18, 2009. The Forks Fire started at 2:54 p.m. near Intake II, a small lake alongside State Route 168, 12 miles west of Bishop. The mandatory evacuation of the Bishop Creek Canyon Recreation Area and the communities of Aspendell and South Fork as well as the voluntary evacuations for the community of Starlite have been lifted. Highway 168 will be re-opened to the public at 5:00 pm today. Forest roads accessing the fire area will remained closed to the public. Fill containment is projected to occur July 24, 2009.
Resources Currently Assigned:

* 15 Type 1 Hand Crews
* 3 Helicopters
* 25 Engines
* 1 Water Tender
* 558 Total Personnel

YTD fires and acres:
National Forest System lands:
* Fires: 678
* Acres: 11,941
All Jurisdictions:
* Fires: 3,840
* Acres: 28,805

Knight FireWildfireStanislaus National ForestActive6001 day ago
LionWildland FireSequoia National ForestActive1,1702 days ago
Tennant FireWildfireKlamath National ForestActive3,2254 days ago
BackboneWildland FireSix Rivers National ForestActive6,3245 days ago
Forks FireWildfireInyo National ForestActive3,2686 days ago

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.

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