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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

7/19/2017 Final Snake River Fire Update

This is the final update from the Snake River Fire. The InciWeb site will be available for you to refer to.  Thank you for your interest in this incident.
Tony Gilmer, Incident Commander    Michael J. Krueger, Public Information Officer
At 2 a.m. on July 15, 2017, a lightning strike grew into a noticeable wildfire. High temperatures and wind quickly spread the fire. Heaviest fire activity was in the steep draws. Primary values of concern was to keep the fire from reaching the standing wheat fields and cattle grazing in the draws.

Acreage:  3100 acres              
Terrain:  Steep hillsides with fuels of grass and shrubs

Fire Location:  15 miles east of Pomeroy. East of the end of Beale Rd. Fire stayed on the Westside of Snake River in Garfield County and across the river from Nisqually John Army Corps of Engineer Campground.

State Mod Fire:  Pasco Fire- Bob Gear, WADNR- Tony Gilmer are incident commanders

Safety:  On July 15, Four Initial attack local firefighters were treated for heat related illness and released.

Ownership: Washington Department of Natural Resources, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, and private landowners.

No structures lost nor any livestock, though some animals were not initially located.

Resources:  Garfield County Fire District #1, Stevens Fire District #1, #4, #6, #7, #13, Spokane Fire District #9, #10, Franklin Fire District 3, Pullman, Pasco, Benton County Fire District #1, #4, Lincoln County Fire District #1, Pullman Ambulance, Spokane Valley, West Thurston, Thurston Fire District #3, #9, SE Thurston, Lewis Fire District #5, 3 Hots Shot crews-Zig Zag, Baker, Redmond USFS, Washington State Patrol, WADNR, and contract crews

July 15Saturday Garfield County Fire District #1 responded to initial attack. Landowners and initial attack worked for hours building a fire line by discing standing wheat and the cut wheat fields. Two Fire Boss and two helicopters assisted in stopping fire spread by dropping water on steep terrain. Landowners also worked to remove their cattle that had moved into the draws. Burnout occur during Saturday. Fire line construction consists of dozer, disced line on ridge tops and hand line going down to the river. Dozers had completed a quarter of the perimeter’s fire line by Saturday night.

July 16:  Many resources arrived at fire. Sunday used 3 Type 1 Hand Crews, 5 Strike Teams, and 3 Dozers on the ground. In the air were a heavy helicopter, a fixed wing aircraft, and 4 Fire Bosses using the Snake River for water. The goal was to keep the fire on the river's slope and away from homes and cropland. Engines could only maneuver on the flats above the river’s slope. Sunday’s east winds forced fire back west on to already burned area. When the winds abated, the fire rose and threw flames onto the flats. The engines successfully extinguished these spot fires. Sunday Bulldozers worked to build fire line to encircling the fire. There was a 1/4 mile unsecured line at the northeast corner of the fire adjacent to the Snake River. This was a rock outcropping and did require coordination with air support. The containment remained at 20% due to the interior still having light, flashy fuels.

July 17On Monday the team had an unexpected success with the fire. Nature helped by providing calmer winds and a cool night, the fire quieted. The fire was held up by greener grasses and rocky terrain. The night shift crews continued to search for hot spots and extinguish them.

July 18:  By dawn Tuesday, earlier plans had been greatly altered due to favorable weather conditions. Orders for new and replacement personnel were canceled based on the opportunity provided by the weather. The large planned burn operation was replaced with a smaller version. The fire was pretty much done and over. Focus became hot spots to manage and the fire footprint to grid and to secure. The team's intent continued to be effective and efficient.

The team begun sending people and equipment home or demobilize (demob). As work diminishes, the team continued to right size accordingly. The Monday night shift ended at midnight so that the crews could get their required sleep and be ready to depart for home Tuesday morning.

Tuesday 2 Strike Teams, 2 water tenders, and 3 hand crews were active on the fire. A dozer was available near the fire’s perimeter in case it was needed. Air Support was also available. A helicopter flight was planned for Tuesday morning to reassess the fire as a whole and accurately map the fire using GPS.

With Garfield District #1 Fire Chief Kris Darby’s approval, the fire was returned to local control at 1800 on Tuesday the 18th.

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