Wildfires in Northwest California and Southern Oregon were very active Thursday

Above: satellite photo of fires in Northwest California and Southern Oregon, August 17, 2017.

(Originally published at 11:30 a.m. MDT August 18, 2017)

Wildfires in Northwest California and Southern Oregon were very active on Thursday. Three of the largest fires on the Klamath National Forest in California are the Salmon August Complex (4,418 acres), Eclipse Complex (17,501), and Clear Fire (6,701).

The Ruth and Orleans Complexes on the Six Rivers NF have burned 4,617 and 6,943 acres respectively.

Eclipse Complex firefighters
Eclipse Complex firefighters on Division D. Photo by B. Patton. InciWeb.

Oregon and Washington have a total of 24 large fires; 15 are being suppressed and 9 are being managed with less than full suppression strategies. Some of the more active fires in Southern Oregon on Thursday were: Chetco Bar (8,500 acres), Miller (4,668), Jones (2,703), Milli (4,565), Umpqua North (3,414), and High Cascades (10,460).

Milli Fire
Milli Fire at 4 a.m. PDT August 16, 2017. Inciweb.

Dozens of active wildfires in the Northwest U.S.

Above: Active wildfires in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Western Montana, and Northern California at 4:18 a.m. MDT August 16, 2017.

(Originally published at 10:21 a.m. MDT August 16, 2017)

Dozens of wildfires are active in the Northwest one-quarter of the United States. Many of them have been burning for several weeks under a limited suppression strategy. The states of Washington and Oregon have a total of 32 large uncontained fires that have spread over 810,171 acres.

Air Quality Index LegendAt times the area around Missoula has been heavily affected by smoke. Here are some PM 2.5 readings from Wednesday morning:

  • Seeley Lake: 180
  • Missoula: 33
  • Lolo: 54
  • Superior: 180
  • French Town: 19
  • Clinton: 26
wildfires near Missoula, Montana
Satellite photo showing smoke from wildfires near Missoula, Montana, August 15, 2017.
wildfires northwest california
Satellite photo showing smoke from wildfires in northwest California, August 15, 2017.
wildfires northwest united states
Active wildfires (without added name tags) in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Western Montana, and Northern California at 4:18 a.m. MDT August 16, 2017.

Firefighters battling South Fork Fire east of Wawona, California

Above: South Fork Fire. Inciweb.

(Originally published at 11:38 a.m. PDT August 15, 2017)

The main priority of firefighters battling the South Fork Fire in Yosemite National Park in California is protecting homes in the North Wawona community 1.7 miles west of the fire along the South Fork of the Merced River.

Not much information is available about the fire 56 hours after it was reported very early Sunday morning, but we know that it is burning above the river on steep, rocky slopes in a forested area with beetle-killed trees. While a fire burning through dead trees sounds scary, after the needles fall off, the trees burn with less intensity and rate of spread than a healthy forest.

According to the South Zone Coordination Center, voluntary evacuations are in effect for Wawona on the east side of Chilnaulna Falls Ridge.

Our very unofficial estimate based on satellite data from 3:43 a.m. PDT Tuesday puts it at approximately 2,000 acres. The last official figure from the Incident Management Team was 1,613 acres at 7 p.m. Monday.

map South Fork Fire
3-D map of the South Fork Fire. Estimated perimeter (in red) based on satellite data from 3:43 a.m. PDT August 15, 2017.

Deron Mills’ Type 2 Incident Management Team is transitioning into the management structure of the fire today, Tuesday.

The weather forecast for the fire area for Tuesday calls for sunny skies, 75 to 80 degrees, relative humidity in the mid-30s, and very light winds on the slopes in the morning increasing to 10 mph on the ridgetops in the afternoon.

The South Fork Fire and others in California are contributing to unhealthy air quality in many areas.

visibility in Yosemite National Park El Capitan
The visibility in Yosemite National Park at El Capitan, 12:02 p.m. PDT August 15, 2017.
pm25 air quality california wildfire
The forecast for the maximum levels of wildfire particulate matter (PM 2.5) for August 15, 2017 in Central California. Experimental product by U.S. Forest Service/BlueSky.

2 fires in Yosemite National Park, Empire and South Fork

Above: Satellite photo of the South Fork and Empire Fires in Yosemite National Park, August 14, 2017.

(Originally published at 3:40 a.m. PDT August 14, 2017)

Two large fires are burning in Yosemite National Park. The Empire Fire started two weeks ago and is being monitored but not completely suppressed. It has spread across 1,200 acres one mile south of Bridalveil Campground in Yosemite’s Wilderness.

The first report of the South Fork Fire came in at 2:30 a.m. Sunday, August 13 near the South Fork of the Merced River 2.6 miles east of Wawona.

South Fork Fire
South Fork Fire. Posted on InciWeb August 14, 2017.

It has burned approximately 1,000 acres. Smoke has prevented the use of air tankers at times, but there is a report that all three of the military MAFFS aircraft currently activated have dropped on the fire when the smoke has cleared.

A Type 2 Incident Management Team has been ordered.

South Fork Fire map empire
3-D map of the South Fork and Empire Fires in Yosemite National Park, August 14, 2017.

Eight firefighters injured in northern California vehicle accident

A crew truck from Firestorm Wildland Fire Suppression was involved in the one-vehicle accident.

firestormAt approximately 7:45 a.m. PDT, August 11, 2017, a Firestorm Wildland Fire Suppression Inc. contracted fire crew transport truck assigned to the Parker 2 Fire was involved in a single vehicle accident on Highway 299 near Cedarville, California. Eight firefighters were injured. Five were transported to local medical facilities by ambulance; three were transported by air ambulance. Seven of the firefighters have been treated and released, and one firefighter is still undergoing medical evaluation.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

The Parker 2 Fire has burned almost 8,000 acres on the Modoc National Forest east of Alturas, California.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Rick.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.