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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Quick Look: California Fires

News and Notes: 


  • Walker IMT II ordered (CA-ONC-007) for preposition to North Ops
  • Chevron Refinery fire in a catalytic cracking unit, injured 1 employee and sent dozens of citizens to local hospitals as a large black chemical laden smoke plume covered the San Francisco Bay Area. At this point, only half the refinery is closed down, Unit-2 still processing.

    Richmond Fire Department provided Mutual Aid to Chevron Fire Dept. with Albany Fire Department providing cover in City of Richmond. A shelter in place order was issued and lasted till late in the evening.
     Fire is now contained.
  •  The U.S. Forest Service has modified its request for assistance for the MAFFS-equipped C-130s. The new request, received late yesterday, tasks an additional two C-130s using Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems, to assist with fires in the Rocky Mountain area. The two aircraft from the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, CO, will supplement the two C-130s from the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, currently operating from Boise Air Terminal, in Idaho.
  • A trash fire at a marijuana grow grew out of control and burned nearly eight acres of wildland in the Las Cumbres Fire on Saturday, Cal Fire reported.
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In Memoriam: 
August 6, 1945 – Lemon Butte Fire
On August 6, 1945, Marvin Brown, a member of the “Triple Nickels” (the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion), was killed on the Lemon Butte fire in Oregon when he fell from a snag that his chute had become entangled with. The 555 PIB was stationed on the West Coast to combat any fire started by Japanese bomb-carrying balloons. Their mission was not publicized as to not panic the public. During the summer of 1945, the Triple Nickels made more than 1,200 individual jumps; Mr. Brown was their only fatality. For more information on Brown and the Triple Nickels, visit http://www.wlfalwaysremember.org/incident-lists/241-malvin-brown.html
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Weather: Dry lightning fires didn't materialize Saturday night, and CalFire announced Monday that its staffing levels are back to normal after being on "alert staffing" Saturday.

A ridge of high pressure will build over the region the rest of this week and into the weekend; the warmest temperatures are expected late this week and into the weekend. This will bring a warming trend to the Central California interior with the possibility of record high temperatures. Precautions should be taken to avoid dangerous effects of the heat.


Current Red Flags, Watches or Warnings

Red Flag Warning


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MEDFORD HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG
WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 8 PM PDT
THIS EVENING.
SISKIYOU COUNTY FROM THE CASCADE MOUNTAINS EAST AND SOUTH TO MT SHASTA-MODOC COUNTY EXCEPT FOR THE SURPRISE VALLEY
...GUSTY WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITIES ARE EXPECTED TO IMPACT
MODOC COUNTY AND FAR EASTERN SISKIYOU COUNTY THIS AFTERNOON...
* AFFECTED AREA: FIRE ZONES 285 AND EASTERN 284 * WIND: AFTERNOON WEST TO SOUTHWEST WIND GUSTS OF 20 TO 30 MPH ARE EXPECTED. * HUMIDITY: AFTERNOON RELATIVE HUMIDITIES OF 10 PERCENT OR LOWER ARE EXPECTED TODAY. * IMPACTS: THE POTENTIAL FOR GUSTY WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITIES MAY RESULT IN EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH THIS AFTERNOON. A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW...OR WILL SHORTLY. THESE CONDITIONS WILL CREATE THE POTENTIAL FOR EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH.
Excessive Heat Warning
Excessive Heat Watch
Current Fire Potential Map
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OSCC GACC


CA-SLU- Caliente Wildfire, 149 acres 100% contained. San Luis Obispo County. CA-SLU-006239 

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CA-SQF- Piute Complex Wildfire, 1500 acres 15% contained.

 (Heald Fire 1150 acres, Clear Fire 350 acres)  
South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team is assigned Piute Complex. The Incident Base Camp has been established at Camp 9. For current fire information about the fires involved in the Piute Complex, please call the Fire Information Unit at 951-297-3493.
CA-SQF-2476
Location: Clear Fire-6 Miles South of Lake Isabella Heald Fire-11 Miles East of Lake Isabella
Acres Burned: 
Clear Fire: 1,500
 Heald Fire: 350
 Structures Threatened: 20
Containment: 15% on both fires Structures
Destroyed: 0
Fire Started: August 4, 2012
Injuries: 0
Cause: Lightning
Total personnel assigned to the Fire: 929
Summary: Today fire crews continued working on building fire containment lines around both fires. Resources have been arriving to the incident throughout the day to help support firefighting efforts. Both fires are located in steep rough terrain with difficult access and long travel times to the fire. Multiple helicopters and air tankers assigned to the incident also helped support fire suppression operations on the ground. Fire crews will remain on the fire line overnight to help reduce long travel times back to the Incident Base Camp.
Clear Fire: The Clear Fire continues to be a priority for fire managers as it threatens homes in the Valley View Subdivision on Saddle Springs Road. Today the Clear Fire was actively burning to the east. Fire crews made progress on all other sides of the fire. A portable retardant mixing plant arrived at the incident today. The mixing plant will be placed in Havilah and be used by helicopters assigned to the Clear Fire tomorrow. By using fire retardant instead of water, the helicopters will be able to reinforce fire lines constructed by crews on the ground to further protect the structures threatened.
Heald Fire: The Heald Fire did not see any growth today but is proving to be difficult for fire crews on the ground due to the steep rough terrain. Some fire crews' hiked long distances to the bottom of the fire, while other fire crews were flown in by helicopter to the top of the fire.
Closures - Saddle Springs Road - between Bodfish-Caliente Rd and Piute Mountain Rd.
Camp 9 - Camp ground and day use closed to the public.
OHV Trail Closures due to the fires include: q Clear Fire: � Clear Creek Trail 33E45 � Cold Springs Trail 33E68 � Libel Peak Trail 33E65 q Heald Fire: � Dry meadow Trail 34E31 � Little Dry Trail 32E52 � Willow Gulch Trail 34E41
Fire Information: 951-297-3493 For additional information visit: www.inciweb.org
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 CA-BEU- Iverson Wildfire, 63.3 acres 100% contained.
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ONCC GACC

CA-STF-Wheats Wildfire, 3+ acres. Fire is in the Carson/Iceberg Wilderness Area near the Sword Lake Trail. Seven jumpers were dropped on the fire just before cut off time.
Fuels are sparse in this area.
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CA-NOD Lost  Wildfire,  9,000 acres 5% contained.
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CA-PNF Chips Wildfire . 15,334 acres, 10% contained.

Evacuations: The communities of Belden, Little Haven and Maggie's Trailer Park are on a precautionary evacuation notice. A voluntary evacuation notice has been issued for the Rush Creek area and the area south of Highway 89 that includes Butt Valley Reservoir and Humbug Reservoir. Residents along Highway 70 from Tobin to Twain are encouraged to begin developing evacuation plans. A one mile, one lane traffic closure remains in effect on Highway 70. Motorists should use caution on Hwy 70 in the fire area. Expect delays and traffic controls. Portions of the Pacific Crest, Yellow Creek, Ben Lomond, and Indian Creek hiking trails remain closed.

Chips Fire burning across the slopes of Eagle Peak
Credit: Rich Szlauko
 Problems / Concerns: Threatened critical infrastructure including the Red Hill communications site which services critical communications for various emergency services and related agencies continues to be threatened and resources are needed to prepare and defend communications site. Fuels treatments around the SW portion of this site are limited. Private timber lands and associated plantations are currently being impacted by. Other concerns continue to include the snag loading (50-100 per acre) in and near the fire perimeter; the large dead and down logs and debris, combined with very difficult access (road and foot travel) for resources reduces the ability of taking direct action on flanks.
 Firefighters will be challenged by critical fire weather conditions that are expected to push the Chips Fire in a north to northeast direction. Additional crews, engines and dozers are positioned to aggressively attack any spot fires that may occur. Helicopters and air tankers will be used to assist ground resources where needed, and as smoke conditions allow. Crews have begun mop-up of fire lines along Highway 70 in the Belden area where containment has been achieved. Crews will monitor for spot fires along the Feather River Canyon with the assistance of helicopters. Line construction on the fire's western flank continues.

A new fire near the junction of Highways 89 and 70 was suppressed last night by crews working the Chips Fire.

Containment objectives: keep the fire south of Humbug Summit Road, north of Highway 70 and Tobin, west of the Butt Lake transmission lines, and East of Phillbrook Reservoir.

Contingency lines beyond the primary containment lines are planned, and crews are starting to construct contingency lines on the fire's northern flank.

Basic Information
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Under Investigation
Date of Origin Sunday July 29th, 2012 approx. 01:57 AM
Location 2 miles NW of Belden, CA
Incident Commander Jerry Mcgowan
Current Situation
Total Personnel 765
Size 15,334 acres
Percent Contained 10%
Estimated Containment Date Tuesday August 21st, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM


Fuels Involved - 10 Timber (litter and understory) low brush with numerous dead and down large, 1000 hour logs and standing snags.
Fire Behavior - The southern edge of the fire continued to back down slopes towards Highway 70. Low to moderate fire spread was observed on the northern edge of the fire.


Significant Events - Resources aggressively attacked numerous spot fires on private lands along the northern flanks of the fire. A burning operation was discontinued due to unfavorable conditions and fire behavior. Gansner Bar, North Fork and Queen Lily campgrounds and USFS road 27N76 remain closed. 


Outlook / Planned Actions: Crews will continue to construct direct and indirect firelines, and will conduct burning operations where conditions are favorable. Contingency planning to look for other potential containment line locations is underway. Engine crews will continue to provide structure protection in the Feather River Canyon area.
Growth Potential - Extreme
Terrain Difficulty - Extreme


Remarks: Resources are critical to achieving management strategies. Additional crews and other resources will be brought in to assist as needed. The Yellow Creek Base Camp will be relocated to Almanor Campground. An advisory from the Plumas County Sheriff's Office for potential evacuations is still in effect along Highway 70 between Tobin and Twain. Other voluntary evacuation notices remain in effect as well.
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CA-MDF Lake  Wildfire  1,600 acres 50% contained.

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CA-LNP Reading  Wildfire  - 1450 acres 5 % contained

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CA-KNF Dillon Wildfire. 318 acres, 90% contained.

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CA-STF- Parks Wildfire 10+ acres, 75% contained


The Parks complex on the Mount Shasta District consists of three separate fires burning in close proximity.

 It is burning in the Parks Creek drainage approximately 9 miles west of Weed, California. There is no road access to the fires so crews had to walk in. It is currently 10 acres in size and burning in heavy dead and down fuels. It is estimated to be 75% contained. Crews are working to plumb water in to the fire by the morning of 8/7. Currently 2 crews, one helicopter, 3 engine crews, 1 dozer, and 5 line overhead are working the complex.
 It was reported just before midnight on August 5. The cause is under investigation.
 A containment line has been completed all around the fire, and a lot of work is required to keep the fire inside the line. The fire is burning in an old fire scar with many snags, which complicates the work of firefighters and challenges the containment line by throwing burning material across the line.

Basic Information

Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Under Investigation
Date of Origin Sunday August 05th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM
Location 9 miles west of Weed, California in the Parks Creek drainage
Incident Commander Kyle Tolosano
Current Situation
Total Personnel 80
Size 10 acres
Percent Contained - 75%
Fuels Involved - timber
Fire Behavior - low
Outlook / Planned Actions - The crews have made good progress in flanking the fire with the objective of establishing a perimeter for full control. A fire line has been constructed all the way around the fire but the fire is burning actively within this perimeter and spots are occurring outside the line.
Growth Potential - moderate
Terrain Difficulty - moderate
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CA-STF- Salt Creek wildfire, 980 acres, 100% contained.

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CA-ENF Hazel Fire 34 acres 100 % contained.
Crews continue improving line and mopping up today.
County: El Dorado County
Location: Off Mormon Emigrant Trail, southeast of Pollock Pines
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Amador-El Dorado Unit/Eldorado National Forest
Date Started: August 5, 2012 1:20 pm
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California Fire News 2012 

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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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