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Sunday, July 30, 2017

7/30/2017 Blanket Fire Update

Sunday, July 30, 2017  10:00am

Making progress, and helping the neighbors

Saturday’s activities: Hand crews continued creating fire breaks along the Forest Service 100 Road and the Red Blanket Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail. Firefighters’ tasks included clearing away vegetation, digging to bare soil, and, in some locations, carefully using fire as a tool to “burn out” inside the firelines. Burning out consumes the ground fuels, creating a broader barrier that is more likely to resist a fire’s natural movement. Water drops by helicopters were used to cool the south edge of the fire to slow the downslope fire movement.  Forest Road 6205 is being prepared as a fireline along the south edge of the fire area. One firefighter became ill from apparent dehydration and was evaluated at a local hospital; he was released later in the day. In the evening, the largest helicopter left the Blanket Creek Fire to help other local fire responders on a new fire that started near Burnt Peak. New fire starts are a priority to contain, and they take resources away from ongoing large fires. All fire personnel depend on the public to prevent new wildfires.  

Planned actions today: More crews have arrived to join the fireline construction and strengthening. Their specialized experience in steep terrain is particularly valuable on this fire, where there are very few natural breaks in the forest canopy. All fireline leaders will continue to monitor people’s heat exposure and hydration, with the goal of preventing heat-related illnesses. Some crews are assigned to other small fires in the High Cascades Ranger District, and 2 crews are loaned to Crater Lake National Park for a new fire there. 

Forecast weather: Today is expected to be about 5 degrees hotter than Saturday, with temperatures on the fire area reaching the mid-80s. The humidity won’t recover as well overnight, which means the vegetation gets even drier, and can continue to burn throughout the night. Looking ahead, the National Weather Service has issued an “Excessive Heat Warning” for Monday through Thursday. Temperatures could reach 10-20 degrees above normal. Fortunately, at this time there are no predicted strong wind or lightning events to coincide with the extreme heat and drying of vegetation.

More smoke is visible in the area today due to this and other local fires. There are no homes or structures in the immediate area of this fire. Crater Lake National Park is fully open. Fire personnel are using the day use portion of Joseph Stewart State Park for the Incident Command Post (ICP) and camp. The rest of the park, including Lost Creek Lake Marina and Store, is open to visitors.

Fire at a Glance
Size: 625 acres
Containment: 3%

Location: 9 miles northeast of Prospect, Oregon; 5 miles southwest of Crater Lake National Park; north of Bessie Rock; on the north side of the Red Blanket Creek Drainage.

Cause: Lightning, Natural

Personnel: 540 (some are assisting other fires today)

 6 Type 1 Hotshot Crews
12 Type 2 Crews
 4 Engines
 2 Water tenders
 2 Dozers
 3 Falling units

1 Type 1 heavy helicopter
1 Type 3 light helicopter

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