California: Oak Fire stopped at 100 acres

A fire in California that reportedly had a great deal of potential was stopped at 100 acres Tuesday by an aggressive initial attack. The Oak Fire northeast of Sonora was reported at 1:23 p.m. and was attacked quickly by troops on the ground, S-2s that were 10 minutes away at Columbia Air Attack Base, a very large air tanker, and a C-130. The Oak Fire and another fire nearby, the Hill Fire, burned together which then was only referred to as the Oak Fire.

KCRA reported that firefighters attending training at a nearby conference center had to be evacuated.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Eric.

The spread of the Tenaya Fire above Yosemite Valley slows

(UPDATE at 10:12 a.m. PT, September 10, 2015)

The Tenaya Fire in Yosemite National Park in California slowed on Wednesday due to the efforts of aviation assets and troops on the ground. In fact the mapped size of 431 acres is a decrease from the estimated 500-acre figure the park released earlier.

The park reports that firefighter efforts at the heel of the fire are holding and good progress is being made on the flanks.

The NPS says this is a “suppression fire” even though three other fires in the park, all currently less than 50 acres, are not being fully suppressed. A Wednesday evening statement from the park said:

Although the use air tankers were initially discouraged, the use of retardant was necessary due to active and rapid rate of fire spread. Key reasons include firefighter and visitor safety, and risks to and closing the Tioga Road, negatively affecting the local communities that rely on park visitation, including the communities include Lee Vining, Mammoth Lakes, Groveland and Mariposa.

Map Tenaya Fire 9-9-15

Map of the Tenaya Fire, Sept 9, 2015. NPS.


(Originally published at 7:47 a.m. PT, September 9, 2015)

Tenaya Fire

Tenaya Fire, September 8, 2015. NPS photo.

The Tenaya Fire started September 7 in California’s Yosemite National Park between Yosemite Valley and Tioga Road (Highway 120). It is burning along both sides of the Lehamite Creek Trail from the north rim of the Valley to Tioga Road. (See the map below.)

The Park Service reports that full suppression efforts began on September 8 which included approximately 60 firefighters, six air tankers, and three helicopters. Additional resources will arrive on the fire September 9.

map of Tenaya Fire

3-D map of Tenaya Fire, showing heat detected by a satellite at 1:47 a.m. September 9, 2015. Looking northwest. (Click to enlarge.)

No structures are currently threatened and as of Tuesday night there was no containment on the fire. The cause is under investigation.

Some fire officials concerned about firefighters taking photos

The Associated Press has an article about the increasing trend of firefighters taking photos while they are assigned to a fire, and in some cases sharing them on social media websites.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

…Fire officials, who have seen an uptick in such postings, warn that the act of focusing on a handheld screen can be deadly when crews are surrounded by danger.

“There have been incidents in the past where firefighters have captured the last moments literally of their lives,” said Dave Teter, deputy director chief of fire protection at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The problem is especially heightened in California as the parched state makes for an explosive fire landscape.

“Burning conditions and rates of spread and the energy release associated with these fires is really unprecedented,” said Teter.

Cal Fire has discussed the possibility of stripping crews of their cellphones, and the idea remains on the table. The agency says for now, however, it’s trying to avoid such a drastic measure…

What do you think? Is this a problem? Can a fire agency strip crews of their cell phones?

Burn injury on the Rough Fire

(Originally published at 7:01 MDT, September 7, 2015)

A firefighter was burned today on the Rough Fire. Below is a news release from the incident management team:

At approximately 8:00 [on September 7, 2015], a firefighter was injured while working in the Converse Basin area of the Rough Fire. The firefighter was part of a hotshot crew working the night shift tasked with monitoring the fire line along Hoist Ridge, looking for spot fires that may have occurred outside the containment line.
Given the extremely steep, rugged terrain, a Rapid Extraction Module (REM) was dispatched to remove the firefighter from the scene to a road. The firefighter was delivered to an ambulance and transported to a nearby helispot. A helicopter then transported the patient to the hospital for treatment. The firefighter was conscious and alert at the time of the extraction.

The firefighter is now in the hospital, receiving treatment, in stable condition and good spirits. The firefighter’s family has been notified and is enroute. The Forest Service is providing an employee advocate who is on scene to work with the firefighter’s family and medical staff to facilitate communication with all involved parties and deal with any needs of the family.

The Rough Fire, which started on July 31 east of Fresno, California, has burned over 95,000 acres.

Does anyone have details of what comprises a “Rapid Extraction Module” on a wildland fire?


(UPDATE September 8, 2015)

Our readers can provide a wealth of information.

  1.  Holly sent us a copy of the ICS Position Manual for the Rapid Extraction Module Support (REMS), ICS- 223-12.
  2. Kari Greer, in the comments, provided a link to some photos she took during a Rapid Extraction Module proficiency practice on the Happy Camp Complex last summer on the Klamath National Forest in California. That Module is from Sacramento Metro FD.
  3. A REM has been assigned to the Rough Fire in California.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Barbara.

Sampling of photos from recent fires

hose mad river fire

Fire hose was transported back to the incident base on the Mad River Complex in northern California after being deployed on the fireline. Before it is used again it will be tested, cleaned, and rolled.

These photos are samples of those being uploaded by incident management teams to InciWeb over the last few weeks. If no date or photographer’s credit is listed, it means they were not provided on InciWeb.

tanker drop Buck Horn Fire

Air tanker drop on the Buck Horn Fire in Montana, August 13.

Grizzly Bear Complex, Oregon

Snow on the Grizzly Bear Complex, Oregon, September 5. Credit: WIIMT #4.

Omak Fire

Incident Command Post at the Omak Fire in Washington.

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