Wildfire near Weaverville slowed by prescribed fire

Oregon Fire

The spread of a fire with an odd name, the Oregon Fire at Weaverville, California, was slowed with the help of a prescribed fire completed eight months earlier. The fire, 30 miles west of Redding, was aggressively attacked soon after it was reported at 4:53 p.m. PDT on August 24 with 16 engines, 9 hand crews, 5 helicopters, 3 dozers, and 9 air tankers, including both DC-10 Very Large Air Tankers, each carrying 11,900 gallons of fire retardant.

The combination of these suppression forces and the fact that the head of the fire burned up against the Five Cent prescribed fire from November, 2013 kept the number of structures burned to only one, even though it was burning in the wildland-urban interface of Weaverville. The fire spotted across the prescribed fire, burning an additional 18 acres before it was stopped.

As of August 28, the fire is listed at 580 acres with 95 percent containment.

Tim Ritchely contributed the above map (we added the text in white and yellow as well as the arrows). He told us:

Flame lengths were observed at 6+ feet in the oak woodland as the fire approached the Five Cent Rx with a rate of spread exceeding 20 chains per hour and then dropped immediately to the ground upon entering the treated areas and basically halted in its tracks… The DC-10s and BA-146 were both used effectively at keeping the fire north of the structures from the ignition point. Helicopters were used east of Weaver Bally road in conjunction with dozers and crews working above the residences until dark.


Throwback Thursday

Between August 24 and 30, 2008, these were some of the topics we covered on Wildfire Today:

Redding fire

An air tanker drops on a fire in Redding, California near the Sacramento River

A vegetation fire in Redding, California burned 130 acres and caused evacuations near the Sacramento River.

–In advance of the approaching Hurricane Gustav, predicted to hit land near New Orleans, three National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) teams and one National Park Service All Hazard team were prepositioned in Dallas, Atlanta, and Jacksonville.

–The San Francisco Fire Department used jet skis to transport hose from their fire boat to Yerba Buena Island where a fire was burning in an area with difficult access. Yerba Buena Island is in San Francisco Bay near the Bay Bridge.

–A Single Engine Air Tanker crashed in northwest Colorado 20 miles northwest of Meeker. The pilot walked away with minor injuries.

–You might be in a redneck volunteer fire department if…

  • Your department has ever had two emergency vehicles pulled over for drag racing on the way to the scene.
  • You have naked lady mud flaps on your pumper.
  • Your firehouse has wheels.
  • You’ve ever gotten back and found out you locked yourselves out of the firehouse.
  • You’ve ever been toned out on an outhouse fire.
  • That outhouse fire was with entrapment.
  • You’ve ever let a person’s house burn down because they wouldn’t let you hunt on their land.
  • At least one vehicle in the firehouse still has decorations on it from the Halloween Parade and it’s January.
  • Your personal vehicle has more lights on it than your house has lights in it.
  • You don’t own a Dalmation, but you do have a coon dog named Sparky.
  • You’ve ever walked through a christmas display and came up with more than 3 new ideas for a light scheme for your truck.
  • Your rescue truck can smoke the tires.
  • Your department’s name is misspelled on the equipment.
  • Your engine had to be towed in the last Christmas Parade.
  • Dispatch can’t mention your name without laughing.
  • The local news crew won’t put your department on TV because you embarassed them last time.
  • You’ve ever referred to a light bar as sexy.
  • Your defib consists of a pair of jumper cables, a marine battery, and a fish finder.
  • You’ve ever taken a girl on a date in a pumper.
  • Your pumper has been on fire more times than it has been to a fire.
  • Your pumper smokes more than the house fire.
  • The only time the trucks leave the station is on bingo night.

A firefighter life-flighted to hospital after engine rollover in Oregon

A firefighter was transported by ambulance and then by a life flight helicopter to a hospital after an engine rollover in Oregon on July 18, 2014. According to the preliminary “24-Hour Report”, the Warm Springs Tribal engine with two on board was en route to the 73 Fire on an initial attack response. The other firefighter was transported to a hospital and released after an evaluation.

The “24-Hour Report” was posted on the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center almost 200 hours after the accident.

The entire one-page report: Warm Springs Engine MVA 24-Hour Report


Lightning ignites fire in palm tree farm

Borrego Springs Fire

“Lone Ranger” sent us a report about a rarely seen vegetation fire that occurred August 21 in Borrego Springs, a desert community 50 miles northeast of San Diego, California.


“It’s a very rare occasion that we get a wildfire anywhere near the valley floor let alone, on it. An intense lightning storm, August 21 mid-morning, gave OV-10 Air Attack 330, and S2-T Tankers T-70 and T-71 out of Ramona Air Attack Base an opportunity to pay Borrego Springs a visit.

One strike ignited an old stand of very tall fan palms at a large palm tree farm. From my property 3 miles away the huge flames and dark column of smoke left no doubt that it was a grove of palm trees. The skirt of dead fronds that adorns the trunk of a fan palm below the green canopy can consist of many tens of very dry and incredibly flammable fronds.
Borrego Springs Fire

Well under 10 acres in the end, this was a compact but intense wildfire warranting a mutual aid response perhaps even before Borrego Springs Fire Department arrived on scene after a 6 or 7 minute drive from their station.

Response included San Diego County Fire, CalFire, San Diego County Sheriff water dropping helicopters, Cleveland NF and, of course, Ramona AA. T-70 and T-71 flew two sorties. The first was split drops and the second was full load drops. It was a short-lived air show but a good air show just the same.

Borrego Springs Fire

It’s amazing that the fire confined itself/was confined to the narrow stand of very tall palms less than 150 feet wide and maybe 1000 feet long while literally 12 feet away to the north and running the length of the fire are about 225 acres of hundreds of 10-20 foot tall densely planted fan palms. There were remains of fire brands scattered throughout.”
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Montana Fire Chief dies one month after vehicle accident

Dave Anderson, a volunteer Fire Chief in Fort Shaw, Montana died Monday, a month after he was injured in a traffic accident. Cascade County Deputy Coroner Jason Boyd said the Chief died as a result of injuries suffered in the crash, along with cardiac complications. The Montana Highway Patrol said he was driving a water tender on U.S. Highway 89 on July 22 when his vehicle collided with a brush truck that was making a U-turn because the driver had missed a turnoff.

On June 19 another Montana firefighter and a family of five was killed when the fire engine driven by Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel experienced a mechanical problem that locked up one of the wheels, causing the truck to veer into the path of the oncoming pickup. Investigators determined that Chief Rummel died of smoke inhalation while unconscious. Matthew Boegli, Crystal Ross and their three young children died of blunt-force trauma on impact. The Chief was driving back to Three Forks at 55 mph while returning from Helena where the truck had been undergoing repairs to its water system.

Our sincere condolences go out to the families.