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Sunday, August 28, 2016

8/28/2016 Rail Fire Update

The Rail Fire produced a noticeable column of smoke on Saturday, prompting many questions from surrounding communities.

“It was caused by a combination of factors,” said Fire Behavior Analyst trainee Jason McGovern. “The wind aligned with the slope as the heavy fuels on the ground were beginning to burn

more intensely. The resulting release of energy initiated the column formation.”

At that point the firefighters began a firing operation to take advantage of the inflow of air from all sides of the growing column, simultaneously meeting their objectives of widening the fire breaks as forest fuel was being consumed from the perimeter toward the interior of the fire. This activity combined with the intense interior burn is what produced most of yesterday’s smoke.

The wind continued to blow through the night, and night crews worked on two spot fires, including one area of about 200 acres where fire crossed the line near the southeast corner. Fire managers are working with local law enforcement to evacuate a handful of residents and hunter camps to ensure public and firefighter safety. This is a level 3 evacuation. A portion of Forest Road 16 will be closed (from its intersection with Forest Road 13 east to its intersection with the 1680 road) as firefighters use it as access for attacking the fire outside of established lines.

Northwest Team 6 has been working on the fire for two weeks, and it’s time for another team to take over. Northwest Team 13 is now shadowing Team 6 to help provide a seamless transition.

The firefighting and community engagement will remain the same – only some of the faces will change. Team 6 is grateful to the community of Unity for its hospitality and its support for all the firefighters. We also appreciate the cooperation of many other nearby communities who have been impacted by the fire and yet were gracious and helpful with our firefighters.

Firefighters had to respond to several new fires yesterday which appear to have been human caused. NOW is the time to be extremely careful with campfires - where they are allowed in developed sites – and to completely extinguish them.

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