3 Aug 2008, 7:50pm
Idaho
by admin

Willow WFU Fire

Location: 12.5 miles SW of Henry’s Lake (10 mi N of Island Park Reservoir), Fremont Co., ID

Specific Location: near NFD 046 Rd, Caribou-Targhee NF, Lat 44° 31´ 25″ Lon 111° 33´ 52″

Date of Origin: 07/14/2008
Cause: lightning

Situation as of 09/19/08 5:20 PM
Personnel: 76
5,443 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres

Costs to Date: $1,350,000

Fire has grown 900 acres in 4 days. Continue area closure between Willow Creek and Keg Springs Rd. and from the Yale-Kilgore Rd. to the Continental Divide.

Single and group tree torching in green trees with creeping in grass and heavy dead/down. Crews continue to monitor fire spread.

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Situation as of 09/15/08 5:00 PM
Personnel: 84
Size: 4,560 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres

Costs to Date: $1,150,000

Fire was allegedly out on 8/31. Now it has grown 600 acres and addtional crews have been called. Continue area closure between Willow Creek and Keg Springs Rd. and from the Yale-Kilgore Rd. to the Continental Divide.

Single and group tree torching in green trees with creeping in grass and heavy dead/down.

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Situation as of 08/31/08 5:00 PM
Personnel: 72
Size: 3,901 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres

Costs to Date: $1,050,000

Received precipitation on the incident, released 4 engines and 1 type 2 handcrew. Continue the area closure between Willow Creek and Keg Springs Rd and also from the Yale-Kilgore Rd to the Continental Divide. Stage 3 completed and approved on August 29.

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Situation as of 08/30/08 6:00 PM
Personnel: 127
Size: 3,740 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres

Costs to Date: $1,000,000

Area closure between Willow Creek and Keg Springs Rd. and from the Yale-Kilgore Rd to the Continetal Divide.

Smoldering, creeping, backing to the S. Some spotting 1/4 mile, interior torching, single tree torching and group tree torching.

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Situation as of 08/27/08 6:00 PM
Personnel: 127
Size: 3,500 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres

Costs to Date: $900,000

Continue holding and monitoring along Keg Springs Rd and along the southern boundary.

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Situation as of 08/26/08 5:30 PM
Personnel: 107
Size: 3,450 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres

Costs to Date: $850,000

Continue area closure between Willow Creek and Keg Springs. Willow Creek and Keg Springs roads remain closed.

***************

Situation as of 08/25/08 5:00 PM
Personnel: 85
Size: 3,243 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres

Costs to Date: not reported, est. $850,000

Burning in heavy dead/down with single and group tree torching, some active crown fire with 1/4 mile spotting. Most activity occurring in Keg Springs and West Willow.

***************

Situation as of 08/24/08 6:00 PM
Personnel: 79
Size: 3,123 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres

Costs to Date: $750,000

Group tree torching, burning in heavy dead and down with 1/4 mile spotting. [Note: dead trees do not torch in groups. Those are green trees being killed by this fire. - Ed]

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Situation as of 08/22/08 6:00 PM
Personnel: 83
Size: 2,850 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres

Costs to Date: $650,000

Area closure between Willow Creek and Keg Springs. Willow Creek Road and Keg Springs roads closed.

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Situation as of 08/21/08 5:40 PM
Personnel: 81
Size: 2,678 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres

Costs to Date: $600,000

Area closures remain in affect. Placing portable repeater closer to fire to help communications. Communications have been poor on this fire for a month. Poor communications kill firefighters, so after a month somebody decided to try to do something about it. Thankfully, no one has been killed on this fire to date.

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Situation as of 08/20/08 5:30 PM
Personnel: 81
Size: 2,678 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres

Costs to Date: $550,000

Closure of entire Keg Springs Rd. Single and group tree torching with short crown runs.

***************

Situation as of 08/19/08 5:30 PM
Personnel: 78
Size: 2,325 acres
Percent Contained: 0%

Maximum desired size (MMA): 41,316 acres (first announcement 8/19)

Costs to Date: $500,000 (first announcement 8/19)

Keg Springs Rd and Willow Creek Rd continue to be closed. (first announcement 8/19)

Single and group tree torching with short crown runs.

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Situation as of 08/17/08 6:00 PM
Personnel: 33
Size: 1,215 acres
Percent Contained: 0%

Single and group tree torching with short crown runs.

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Situation as of 08/16/08 5:30 PM
Personnel: 33
Size: 1,115 acres
Percent Contained: 0%

Maximum Management Area: not reported
Est containment date: none
Costs to date: not reported

Responsible official: Caribou-Targhee NF Forest Supervisor Larry Timchak
Phone Number: 208-624-3151

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Situation as of 08/09/08 5:40 PM
Personnel: 61
Size: 930 acres
Percent Contained: 0%

Maximum Management Area: not reported
Est containment date: none
Costs to date: not reported

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Situation as of 08/04/08 5:00 PM
Personnel: 64
Size: 735 acres
Percent Contained: 0%

Maximum Management Area: not reported
Est containment date: none

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Situation as of 08/02/08 5:30 PM
Personnel: 25 (reported, possibly as many as 60 in reality)
Size: 426 acres
Percent Contained: 0%

Maximum Management Area: not reported
Est containment date: none

The USFS says: Fire is located two miles south of the Continental Divide and 12.5 miles northwest [sic - should be SW] of Henry’s Lake. Fire behavior involves smoldering, creeping, single and group tree torching. Long-range spotting up to 0.5 miles has been seen. The fire is burning in a mosaic pattern of Douglas fir [sic - should be subalpine fir], consuming dead and down logs in its path. The Willow WFU is progressing northward toward Montana. Visible from the Shot Gun Valley area and the Centennial Mountains, this fire is still west of Willow Creek and west of the Willow Creek Road. This fire is being managed for resource benefit and ecosystem enhancement to reduce risk of large fires, enhance Whitebark pine regeneration and benefit habitat for wildlife species such as elk, bear and deer. Currently 25 [sic] firefighters are working full-time on the Willow WFU. The top priorities are public and firefighter safety. Additionally, fire officials will maintain Willow WFU as a natural disturbance mechanism in a fire-dependant [sic] ecosystem, improve habitat and forage for wildlife and allow the fire to play its natural role on the landscape. No trail or road closures are in place at this time.

4 Aug 2008, 1:48am
by Steve


A couple of corrections. The fire is actually Southwest of Henry’s Lake and Northwest of Island Park Reservoir. There are closer to 60 fire fighters there daily, and it is actually burning mostly Sub-Alpine Fir, a species that is indicative of high altitude areas or areas that have not seen fire for a long time. It is useless as timber or even for good firewood. I am not 100% certain, but I think MMAs are all preset on the Caribou-Targhee Forest. Fire use areas are, if those are the same as the MMAs, but there is a chance that MMAs are more restrictive than the preset fire use boundaries.

4 Aug 2008, 10:31am
by Mike


Thank you, Steve. I have corrected the USFS statement (which I copied whole from the EIIFC). I knew when I copied it that the info was suspect, so I very much appreciate your corrections.

The Maximum Management Areas (MMA’s) have been set in advance, but it requires a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to pry them loose. They are secret documents made in the total absence of any NEPA process and represent the areas the USFS wishes to illegally incinerate by wildfire.

I believe the MMA for the northern Rocky Mountains is 4 million acres in size. That’s what the USFS has alleged, at any rate. I do not know if that includes the Caribou-Targhee NF.

MMA’s are completely flexible in any case. Fire managers routinely violate the alleged secret boundaries. During the Warm WFU Fire on the Kaibab in 2006, the MMA was “resized” four times during the fire until 58,000 acres were burned. The Warm WFU also directly violated a federal court order, but nobody went to jail for it or even got their hand slapped.

The Clover WFU Fire in June (this year) blew up and burned 15,000 acres, much of it far outside the MMA. The Gunbarrel WFU Fire is burning outside the MMA right now. It makes little difference to USFS managers.

A statement of the MMA pre-set acreage is required on the 209’s for WFU fires. That box is almost never filled in. I note that lack of proper reporting on every WFU I post about. It does no immediate good to do that, since the USFS doesn’t give a rat, but I am building a record of their incompetence and criminality for my own future use.

4 Aug 2008, 11:09am
by Mike


The Eastern Great Basin GACC reports 42 personnel as of Aug 2, 5:30 pm. Although it is now Aug 4, the Aug 2 report is the latest info posted by the EGBGACC. They also give the acreage as 426 acres, and fail to report the MMA acreage, or any estimated containment date, or any description of the vegetation.

They do note that trees are torching, meaning that green trees are dying. The purpose of the WFU is allegedly to impart “forest health.” It is difficult to understand how killing green trees indiscriminately with wildfire accomplishes that goal. In fact, it is just more BS from a fire-happy, anti-stewardship agency that has squandered their budget on pointless (and illegal) holocausts.

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