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Saturday, August 5, 2017

8/5/2017 Blanket Creek and Spruce Lake Update

Blanket Creek Fire spreads east; Portions of Pacific Crest Trail Closed
The Blanket Creek Fire burned actively yesterday, increasing to 3852 acres when it was measured at 10 pm last night, and spreading more overnight.  The fire has been pushing east toward Union Peak in Crater Lake National Park and north within the Lick Creek drainage.  Containment lines continue to hold on the south and reduce the risk of spread to communities to the west. 

At the eastern end, crews worked to line and plumb the flanks of a broad band of fire that followed several spot fires into the southwest corner of Crater Lake National Park.  The fire has entered the 2008 Middle Fork Fire and is rapidly consuming dead snags and logs, and the grass and brush that have grown back.  The Pacific Crest Trail has been closed in Crater Lake National Park and additional trail closures are being determined and implemented as needed to protect public safety.

The area that the Blanket Creek Fire has become established within the Lick Creek basin continues to be another focus of effort.  The fire has been slowed with retardant and water drops, and crews continue to pursue re-securing it to the containment lines along the ridgeline at Road 100.  It is possible that the alternate lines further away along the Ginko Road (6215) system may need to be utilized.  Crews are preparing them as future firelines by improving the cleared road surfaces, removing snags and clearing and chipping brush to widen an effective fuel break.  

Containing the western edge of the fire has received constant priority because that is the direction of the closest homes and structures, about 2 1/2 miles away.  Crews have been carefully applying fire to a handline that connects Forest Roads 6205 and 100 to hold and stop the fire that has been steadily backing west.  Today, as conditions permit, that line will be carefully widened by additional burning out.  These activities have a high probability of success and dozer lines on private lands add additional security.  
Fire weather continues to be warm and dry.  Although temperatures are trending down a few degrees, the fuels remain very dry and thunderstorms are forecast starting Sunday.
Smoke levels, measured with equipment in Prospect, Oregon, are forecast today “unhealthy for sensitive groups”.  Public information about smoke conditions is available at http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.

Fire at a Glance
Blanket Creek:
Size: 3852 acres; 14% Contained
Location: 9 miles NE of Prospect, OR
Cause: Lightning, Natural

Personnel: 619
Resources:
  4 Type 1 Hotshot Crews
  17 Type 2 Crews
  16 Engines
  12 Water tenders
  4 Dozers
  7 Falling Modules
  3 Masticators
  1 Excavator
 Aircraft (shared with Spruce Lake):
  3 Type 1 heavy helicopters
  2 Type 2 medium helicopters
  2 Type 3 light helicopters
Closures: The Blanket Creek Fire vicinity is closed. The Closure Order and maps are on the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest website and Inciweb.  The Pacific Crest Trail is closed in Crater Lake National Park and additional trail closures are being determined as needed.
Fire Information sources:

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Spruce Lake Fire Update Saturday August 5th
Spruce Lake Fire pushes east, approaches barriers
The Spruce Lake Fire has grown rapidly to 4668 acres, when measured at 10:00 pm last night, but continued to spread overnight.  It has been running to the east and southeast, pushed by west winds deeper into Crater Lake National Park.  The fire is generally burning west of the West Rim Road, and has spotted across the Road in at least one site.  The local lodgepole pine forest, with lots of pitch, sunlit crowns, and many dead trees, is conducive to spotting and rapid fire spread.  Crews are focused on securing the rear and flanks of the fire, preventing broader spread to the north and south.  Spot fires near West Rim Drive are being evaluated for suppression action.  

As the body of the fire expands it is approaching several natural and manmade barriers that will slow its spread.  Wetter areas along creeks and bogs initially confined the fire and, as it continues east toward the steep slopes of the caldera and Crater Lake itself, the vegetation becomes more sparse and patchy.  

The residual containment lines from several recent fires may also contribute to containment opportunities.  Firelines constructed to stop the Bybee Fire in 2016 and the National Creek Fire in 2015 are being evaluated for reuse as containment lines as the Spruce Lake Fire approaches.  

The West Rim Road and many hiking trails on the west and southwest sides of Crater Lake National Park are closed.  The Rim Village and Park Headquarters are under a Level 1 Evacuation Notification ensuring that people are aware of fire activity in the area.  Park visitors are not at risk due to fire. Crater Lake National Park and its concessions remain open and welcome visitors. Alternate routes and activities are available to enjoy the Park.  However, air quality is forecast to be at “Unhealthy” levels today due to smoke. To view current visual smoke impacts from Rim Village go to: www.nps.gov/crla/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams   To view current air quality data from a smoke monitor at the Park Headquarters go to:  oregonsmoke.blogspot.com  

Closures within Crater Lake National Park:
Road: West Rim Drive from Munson Valley Road to North Junction
Trails: The Pacific Crest Trail within Crater Lake National Park.  National Forests to the north (Umpqua) and south (Rogue River – Siskiyou and Fremont – Winema) of the Park are coordinating to inform hikers and develop alternate routes.  Many other trails such as the Rim Trail from Discovery Point to North Junction, the Boundary Springs Trail, the Bald Crater Loop Trail, the Bert Creek Trail, the Lightning Springs Trail, and the Discovery Point Trail are closed.  Closures will expand as needed to protect public safety.
Area: An area west of the fire on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is also closed. See: www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou.

Fire at a Glance
Size: 4,668 acres; 5% Contained
Location: Mostly inside Crater Lake National Park, west of Crater Lake
Cause: Lightning, Natural
Personnel: 537
Resources:
  2 Type 1 Hotshot Crews
15 Type 2 Crews
  9 Engines
  8 Water Tenders
  1 Dozer
  3 Falling units
  1 Grader
 Aircraft (shared with Blanket Creek):
3 Type 1 heavy helicopters
2 Type 2 medium helicopters
2 Type 3 light helicopters
Closures:  A closure of the West Rim Drive, Pacific Crest Trail and several other trails has occurred within Crater Lake National Park. An area closure is in place on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.  Closures will expand as needed to protect public safety.  Maps are being developed and will be available on Inciweb.
Fire Information sources:
Inciweb Fire Information site:  https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5450/

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