17 Jul 2008, 9:28pm
The 2008 Fire Season
by admin

California Lightning Fires Update

On June 20 and 21 dry lightning raked California. Over 2,000 fires were ignited and nearly a million acres burned. Most of those fires have been contained, but thirty-eight are still burning outside containment lines. Here are some updates on a few notable uncontained fires, nearly a month after ignition:

Lime Complex Fires, Shasta-Trinity NF

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:30 PM
Total Personnel: 1,312
Size: 102,776 acres (USFS, 84,493 ac, CalFire, 18,283 ac.)
Percent Contained: 64%

Costs to Date: $28,019,000 (Lime Complex Fires: $25,928,000, Yolla Bolly Complex Fires: $2,091,000)

Personnel continued burning and holding indirect line on the Miners Fire, and contructing line around the spots to the south of the Lime Fire (12,950 ac 52%). National Guard units continued holding and mop up operations.

Crews made good progress with containment goals on the Trough Fire (3,690 ac 90%).

Crews worked on containing spots to the south of the Yellow Fire (12,800 ac 0%)and continued stucture protection to the south of the fire.

Personnel continued construction of indirect line in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness with a mule team on the west side of the Vinegar Fire (25,925 ac 0%). The Vinegar Fire merged with the Sulpher [sic] Fire on 7/10, and was henceforth to be called the Wilderness2 Fire, but that pronouncement has not been followed.

No estimated date of containment has been announced for the Yellow Fire or the Vinegar Fire. The estimated date of containment for the Trough Fire is 07/30 and for the Miners Fire 08/15.

The Lime Complex is officially a megafire now, having topped 100,000 acres. It is the second CA megafire this year, the firest being the Basin/Indians Fire, now at over 205,000 acres. It remains to be seen whether the Lime Complex will top the 1999 Big Bar Fire at 141,000 acres to become the largest fire in the history of Northern California.


SHU/Shasta Trinity Lightning Complex Fires, Shasta-Trinity NF and private land — CalFire ICT #10 (Kerschen) is in command of this Complex.

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 2,608
Size: 83,248 acres
Percent Contained: 55%

Costs to Date: $43,500,000

Structures Destroyed: 6 residences and 15 outbuildings

Highway 299 continues to be open without restrictions. The Motion fire’s mandatory evacuation areas have been lifted completely. A hard closure does remain in place for Whiskey Creek Road and Highway 299.

The Motion Fire (25,061 acres, 55% contained) continues to move to the northwest towards established control lines that are being blackened in by firing operations. Some interior portions are burning to the northeast, still within containment lines. A change in strategy, employing direct attack tactics is being developed for the north and northeast flanks of the Motion fire.

Resources are in mop up and patrol mode on the Moon Fire (29,031 acres, 95% contained, with no fire activity seen during this reporting period).

President Bush, Governor Schwarznegger and Senator Feinstein, all toured the fire area by helicopter this afternoon. Ten firefighters from fire agencies across Australia have arrived on the incident and will be put out on tomorrow’s plan for observation purposes.


Canyon Complex Fires, Plumas NF

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 1,375
Size: 33,415 acres
Percent Contained: 64%

Costs to Date: $26,700,000

Highway 70 is open with a pilot car directing travelers through the previous closure area.

Six uncontained fires remain: South-Frey 11,678 acres and 65% contained; Scotch 6,202 acres and 5% contained; Belden 474 acres and 50% contained; Little 1,270 acres and 70% contained, French-Bear Fire unreported acreage, unreported containment; and one unnamed fire, unreported acreage, unreported containment. All six fires are allegedly staffed, but the informqation emanating from the fire management is exceedingly weak and confusing. Fire line locations are still being scouted into the Feather River Canyon.

Estimated containment date is 07/31/08.


Cub Complex Fires, Lassen NF

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 874
Size: 19,365 acres
Percent Contained: 85%

Costs to Date: $18,550,000

California State Route 32 is still closed. All precautionary evacuations were lifted at 1800.

The Cub Fire is currently at 14,583 acres with approximately 75% containment.


Bear Wallow Complex Fires, Klamath NF

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 99
Size: 2,189 acres
Percent Contained: 0%

Costs to Date: $370,000

A Fire Use Module was flown into today to monitor resource damage.

Fires are being monitored, i.e. watched, not fought. Recon continues; fires grow larger. A Long Range Plan is being considered. No estimated date of containment.


Siskiyou Complex Fires, Klamath NF

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 893
Size: 42,900 acres
Percent Contained: 20%

Costs to Date: $13,300,000

Estimated Containment Date: 08/14/08

Critical shortage of resources to meet the needs for the current strategy, which is to burn 90,000 acres. Old “large fire strategy” of 40,000 acres now abandoned. New strategy is 88,150 projected acres. This plan goes west on Lonesome Ridge Road to the confluence of the East Fork of Blue Creek and Blue Creek. More backfiring crews needed, aerial torch helicopters, napalm, etc.

Restrictions have been placed on rafting access in the Klamath River in the fire area. No report on the miles of endangered salmon spawning tributaries to be incinerated under Long Term Strategy.


Soda Complex Fires, Mendocino NF

Situation as of 07/17/08 7:00 AM
Total Personnel: 655
Size: 8,337 acres
Percent Contained: 75%

Costs to Date: $9,503,233

Mill Fire is now 2,748 acres with 60% containment (est containment date 7/23).

Fire managers are requesting Armed Law Enforcement officers to mitigate threats against fire crews and provide for safety on the fireline. Evidently marijuana growers in the area have fired shots at the fire crews (pot shots?). No night shift due to safety concerns and a lack of resources.


American River Complex Fires, Tahoe NF

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 773
Size: 19,510 acres
Percent Contained: 55%

Costs to Date: $17,800,000

Estimated Containment Date: 08/01/08

Government Springs/Westville fire 18,959 acres, 55% contained.

Increased fire activity today. Rehab of interior lines is continuing. Continued scouting in the canyon bottom in preparation for increased suppression activity on the lower slopes. Crews built direct line on the upper slopes of the canyon.

Closures in place: The Euchre Bar, American Eagle, Italian Bar, and Beacroft Trail (from the trailhead to the North Fork of the American River), and the American River Trail (east of the Mumford Bar Trail toward the Sailor Flat Trail), Mumford Bar Trailhead Campground and Mumford Bar Trail are closed. In addition, Texas Hill Road from Fulda Creek to Junction of Forest Road No. 38 is closed. Tunnel Mills, North Fork, and Onion Valley Campgrounds are closed due to the 19 Road closure. Foresthill Divide Road from China Wall OHV Area to Duncan Y; Robinson Flat east of Soda Springs road; and Sugar Pine Boat Ramp.


Blue 2 Fire, Six Rivers NF

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 326
Size: 4,426 acres
Percent Contained: 16%

Costs to Date: $2,143,564

Estimated Containment Date: 08/12/08

A Strategic Implementation Plan for Blue 2 Fire was presented to Area Command, Forest, tribal representatives and CalFire yesterday. Public meeting at Mountain School (Blue 2 ICP) in Gasquet at 1800.

Important Native American cultural areas in the fire vicinity. Extremely high Yurok, Karuk and Tolowa cultural concerns on Blue 2 Fire. Pending major traditional spiritual activities within the area are of concern, particularly considering lack of knowledge where these activities may occur and unknown who/how many/where, and proximity to ongoing fire.

If fire breaches Red Mountain Road, the Red Mountain communication site will be at risk; value of site infrastructure is $25,000,000, and communication equipment is critical to local fire and other emergency operations. Structure protection for Red Mountain including fuel reduction, wrapping and sprinkler systems have been completed.

Fuel reduction and other prep to burn off Red Mountain Road. Preparing to hydrate Red Mountain Lookout if fire crosses Red Mountain Road.


Hells Half Complex Fires
, Six Rivers NF

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 600
Size: 10,424 acres
Percent Contained: 40%

Costs to Date: $8,994,718

Estimated Containment Date: 07/30/08

Evacuations continue in effect for 56 residences south of fire.

Current weather predictions indicate there may be a possible wind event on Sunday. A southwest wind event could have potential to create control problems along control lines to the north of the fire.

Moderate surface fire spread today with some single tree torching were observed in the late afternoon after the inversion was slow to mix out. Aerial ignition may be utilized to ignite interior areas to keep fire intensities in check on the steep slopes.


Orleans/Ukonom Complex Fires
, Six Rivers NF

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 695
Size: 23,992 acres
Percent Contained: 22%

Costs to Date: $9,656,860

Estimated Containment Date: 09/15/2008

Hot and dry weather persists. Increased fire activity today with torching short uphill runs, frequent rollout and aggressive persistent backing. Surface fires are more active today. The probability of ignition is 90-100% so any spots produced will ignite spot fires. Fire growth continues to the north and east on multiple flanks of the fires edge.

A closure order is in effect for numerous Forest Service roads and trails.


BTU/Butte Lightning Complex Fires
, Plumas NF, Lassen NF, Private land (CalFire)

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 2,011
Size: 54,424 acres
Percent Contained: 85%

Costs to Date: $64,000,000

Structures Destroyed: 50 residences,10 outbuildings

Estimated Containment Date: 07/24/2008

Hwy 70 is still impacted by hazard trees, but is open to controlled traffic.

Camp Fire 85% contained. Fire made runs today on the north end of the Complex, but still remains within the planned secondary containment lines. Drier weather and an increase of winds are encouraging hot spots with unconsumed fuels burn. A large potential for reburn in timber still exists, and unburned islands of the Complex continue to burn.


Iron and Alps Fire Complexes, Shasta Trinity NF

Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 1,317
Size: Size: 49,411 acres (47,490 Iron, 1,921 Alps)
Percent Contained: 43%

Costs to Date: $21,192,817 ($20,076,261 Iron, $1,116,556 Alps)

Mandatory evacuation is in effect for Corral Bottom, Red Hill, Cooper’s Bar, Dutch Creek, Evan’s Bar, & Soldier Creek due to ingress and egress concerns. Evacuation Center is open at Weaverville Elementary.

Voluntary evacuations in effect for Junction City. Advisory evacuations in effect Denny, Corral Bottom, Haglund, Trinity Village, Hawkins Bar and Fisher Ranch, Big Mountain Subdivision, Del Loma, and a community on Fisher Road, east of the Colony.

Uncontained fires: Eagle 13,147 44% 8/11. Cedar 11,981 22% 8/1. Zeigler 2,191 72% 7/25. Buckhorn 7,099 23% 8/1. Ironside 12,720 70% 7/25 (includes merged Don Juan, Big, Lookout, Halsey Ridge, Side, Mountain Fires). Carey 1,379 31% 7/22. Granite 542 62% 7/22. Carey Fire patrol only. Granite Fire unstaffed.

The Eagle Fire rolled over containment lines on the east today. Increased fire activity with spotting across the Trinity River and Hwy 299 on the east flank of the Cedar Fire.


Basin Complex Fire, Los Padres NF

Situation as of 07/16/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 1,967
Size: 122,980 acres
Percent Contained: 61%

Cost to date: $51,000,000

The Evacuation Order remains in effect for the Carmel Valley Road to Piney Creek Road and for the community of Lower Cachagua. The King City ICP was closed and move to the Tassajara ICP.

Backfire operations continued today. Crews were able to carry fire towards Carmel Valley Road. Crews began firing operations N of the MIRA Observatory into the Anastasia Canyon and Bear Trap area. Firing operations are expected to continue for the next 10-14 days.

Fire observed in the Piney and Calaboose Creek area continues to back towards Carmel Valley Road with some isolated short runs.


Piute Mountain Fire, Sequoia NF

Situation as of 07/16/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 501
Size: 37,026 acres
Percent Contained: 95%

Costs to Date: $23,647,000

Evacuations continue to remain in effect throughout the fire area, related to potential flash flooding and not fire activity. Any further evacuation operations will be handled solely by the Kern County Sheriffs Department.


More information on these and other fires can be found at W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking [here].



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