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Monday, August 7, 2017

8/7/2017 Blanket Creek and Spruce Lake Fire Updates

Blanket Creek Fire Information Office

Blanket Creek Fire

Fire line personnel made progress on containment goals Sunday, while the leading edge of the fire burned actively in heavy dead fuels.

The Blanket Creek fire was estimated at 4,739 acres Monday morning. It is 31% contained and has a fire perimeter of approximately 32 miles. That means firefighters have successfully created or improved nearly 10 miles of fire line.

The location of the fire on the landscape makes for complex suppression strategies on the overall incident. Different fuel types, different resources at risk, and different hazards in each part of the fire means each part is evaluated individually, and takes deliberate planning about how to take the most effective suppression action.

At the west end of the fire, the objective is to prevent the fire from reaching private land, hand crews, engines, fallers, and heavy equipment worked Sunday with support from helicopters. The fire burned actively in the Lick Creek drainage. While crews identify and construct potential line locations, dozers and engine crews are prepping contingency lines off the Forest Road 6215 system.

The edge of the fire between FR 6205-100 and FR 6205 now has black to the fireline that is 50 feet wide. This wider buffer provides more security along the west edge of the fire.

All the fire line that was along the Cold Springs Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail is now being mopped up. On the south side of the fire, where the strategy was to allow the fire to back down the slope slowly and naturally, crews are tasked with holding the fire above FR 6205. Patience in this area has paid off, and crews who worked this portion of line report a nice steady low intensity underburn cleared away the ground fuels.

While the lower temperatures Sunday brought a bit of relief to fire personnel, the new weather pattern provides a different set of challenges. Sunday afternoon, an incident meteorologist kept fireline supervisors informed of the locations of thunderstorms northeast of the fire. Fire crews follow storm precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to dangerous wind conditions and lightning. Crews working in the northeast division of the fire reported hail.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect from noon until 10 pm Monday for abundant lighting on dry fuels. Although humidity is trending upward, and large dead logs (termed “1000-hour fuels” in the wildland fire profession) would take 41 days of exposure to moisture to fully re-hydrate. These larger fuels will stay dry even if thunderstorms include some rainfall. 

An opportunity for an in-person update about the fire status and future strategies will be available at a public meeting in Prospect on Tuesday evening.  Details about time and place will be shared as it is confirmed.

Fire at a Glance
Size: 4,739 acres; 31% Contained
Location: 9 miles NE of Prospect, OR
Cause: Lightning, Natural
Personnel: 848
Resources:
  3 Type 1 Hotshot Crews
  17 Type 2 Crews
  26 Engines
  16 Water tenders
  4 Dozers
  8 Falling Modules
  3 Masticators
  1 Excavator
  1 Skidgen
 Aircraft (shared with Spruce Lake):
  4 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. Portions of the Pacific Crest Trail and other trails are closed in Crater Lake National Park. See maps on Inciweb.


Fire Information sources:
https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5431/


Thunderstorms challenge Spruce Lake Fire suppression

Cooler temperatures are slowing the spread of the Spruce Lake Fire, allowing firefighters to work more aggressively toward containment.

Sunday, the fire was estimated at 4,681 acres and 13 percent contained. A public meeting is being planned later in the week to brief residents and visitors. Additional details will be posted as they become available.

The fire continues growing in a southeasterly direction toward West Rim Road. Sunday, crews hiked 7 miles in to begin establishing fire lines along the northern boundary of the fire.

Ground crews were not able to approach the south side of the fire due to steep terrain and thick areas of standing dead or dying trees. Helicopters continue to drop water in that area.

Expected thunderstorms in the area pose another challenge to the suppression effort, as lightning can force crews to stop work on the ground, accelerate the fire’s spread and cause new fire starts.

In Crater Lake National Park, a Level 1 Evacuation Notification is in place for Rim Village and the Park headquarters area. This is the first step in the “Ready, Set, Go!” system. A Level 1 notification means park visitors and residents should be aware they could be asked to leave the area and get “Ready” to do so. For more information about evacuation levels and procedures, go to  http://www.rvem.org/general-evacuation-information.html  

Air quality is predicted to be “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” in Crater Lake National Park today due to smoke. Smoke levels vary widely from place to place around the park and at different times of day. To view current air quality data from a smoke monitor located at park headquarters go to:  oregonsmoke.blogspot.com. To see the current view of the Crater Lake from Rim Village go to: www.nps.gov/crla/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams

West Rim Drive and several trails are closed until further notice for the safety of visitors and firefighters. Affected trails are: the Pacific Crest Trail from the south park boundary to Highway 62, and from the intersection of the Dutton Creek Trail north to the North Entrance Road; Union Peak Trail; Stuart Falls Trail; Pumice Flat Trail; Boundary Springs Trail; Bald Crater Loop Trail; Bert Creek Trail; Discovery Point Trail; Lightning Springs Trail; and the Rim Trail, from Discovery Point to North Junction.

An area west of the fire on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is also closed to reduce the exposure to risk for fire personnel and the public. See: https://tinyurl.com/SpruceLakeFire
All Crater Lake National Park services and facilities are open and welcome visitors.

Fire at a Glance
Size: 4,681 acres; 13% Contained
Location: Mostly inside Crater Lake National Park, west of Crater Lake
Cause: Lightning, Natural
Personnel: 332
Resources:
·         2 Type 1 Hotshot Crews
·         15 Type 2 Crews
·         6 Engines       
·         1 Dozer   6 Falling units
·         Aircraft (shared with Blanket Creek):
·         4 Type 1 heavy helicopters
·         2 Type 2 medium helicopters
·         2 Type 3 light helicopters

Closures:  West Rim Drive, sections of the Pacific Crest Trail and several other trails are closed within Crater Lake National Park. An area closure is in place on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Closures may change as needed for public safety.  Maps are available on Inciweb.
A Level 1 Evacuation Notification is in effect for the Rim Village and Park Headquarters.

Fire Information sources:
Inciweb Fire Information site:
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