400 firefighter hand crews are deployed on fires in the United States

Above: A firefighter ignites a burnout on the Powerline Fire southwest of Pocatello, Idaho. Uncredited Inciweb photo, posted August 6, 2017.

(Originally published at 12:48 p.m. MDT August 6, 2017)

Wildland firefighters are much busier this year than in a typical year. To date, fires have burned 46 percent more acres than the 10-year average — 5,820,802 acres vs. the 3,962,906 average. In some years fire activity in Alaska, where many very large fires are not suppressed, can inflate these numbers, but so far that state can only account for 626,786 acres, not a huge number for Alaska.

400 hand crews, usually comprised of 20 people each, are deployed nationwide, along with 949 fire engines, and 120 helicopters for a total of 16,673 personnel.

map powerline fire
Map showing heat detected on the Powerline Fire southwest of Pocatello, Idaho by a satellite August 5 and 6, 2016. The red dots are the most current, at 4:04 a.m. MDT August 6. Some areas with light vegetation, such as grass, may have burned and cooled before the satellite overflight and were not detected.

Here are brief descriptions of some of the larger or more prominent fires:

  • Powerline (see the map and photo above): Since it was reported Friday night this fire has spread very rapidly. Saturday it was very active on the northeast and southeast sides. Using satellite data the Incident Management Team estimated early Sunday morning that it had burned over 40,000 acres, but that is a very rough guess. More accurate mapping by fixed wing aircraft will provide better numbers. The satellite information indicated that by 4:04 a.m. Sunday it had spread to within 6 miles of Pocatello, Idaho. It is moving into steeper terrain with heavier fuels, offering more resistance to control and is the #2 priority in the Great Basin Geographic Area according to the national situation report.
  • Mammoth Cave, southwest of Carey, Idaho. Since it started August 4 it has burned three structures and 30,000 acres. It is the number 1 priority in the Great Basin Geographic Area.
  • The Shoestring Fire between Shoshone and Gooding, Idaho has blackened about 12,000 acres since it started August 5. It is the #3 priority in the Great Basin Geographic Area.
  • The Rice Ridge Fire northeast of Seeley Lake, MT is the #1 priority in the Northern Rockies Geographic Area and is threatening over 1,000 structures. It added almost 700 acres on Saturday to bring the total to 7,740.
  • The Sunrise Fire, 12,900 acres, the #2 priority in the Northern Rockies Geographic Area, grew by 600 acres Saturday. It has been burning since July 16, growing every day, adding several hundred acres daily on the east or northeast sides. It is now mapped at 12,900 acres.
  • The Hanover Fire, in a very remote area 15 miles northwest of Riggins, Idaho, was extremely active on Saturday. The Incident Management Team reports that it has burned 4,479 acres.
  • Parker 2, 10 miles east of Alturas, California. It was very active Saturday, adding 5,300 acres, growing to 7,100 acres.
  • Minerva 5, just south of Quincy, California. It has burned 4,088 acres and the voluntary evacuation of the town has been lifted. Firefighters completed a firing operation Saturday night.
 sawyer Minerva 5 Fire
A sawyer on the Minerva 5 Fire, August 2, 2017. Inciweb photo, uncredited.

Rose Fire near Lake Elsinore, California burns 200 acres

Above:  A firefighter on the Rose Fire near Lake Elsinore, CA, July 31, 2017. Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.

(Originally published at 8:20 p.m. MDT August 5, 2017)

On July 31 firefighters were able to prevent structures from burning as a wildfire burned about 200 acres just northwest of Lake Elsinore in Riverside County, California.

Jeff Zimmerman, who took these photos, said the fire was reportedly started by the use of equipment behind homes in the 100-degree heat. Jeff said heavy air tankers were brought in to help firefighters stop the spread of the fire as it moved up-canyon through heavy chaparral.

For a while homes along several streets in Lake Elsinore were evacuated as well as locations up the hill to the west in the Cleveland National Forest, including the North Main Divide road, El Cariso Campground, and Los Pinos Conservation Camp above El Cariso Village.

Rose Fire Lake Elsinore CA
A dozer constructs fireline on the Rose Fire near Lake Elsinore, CA, July 31, 2017 Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.
Rose Fire Lake Elsinore CA
A DC-10 drops on the Rose Fire near Lake Elsinore, CA, July 31, 2017 Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.

Continue reading “Rose Fire near Lake Elsinore, California burns 200 acres”

Cove Fire on Modoc NF doubles in size

It grew by approximately 10,000 acres on Tuesday.

Above: The Cove Fire in northeast California. Uncredited and undated; posted to Inciweb August 2, 2017.

(Originally published at 12:25 p.m. PDT August 2, 2017)

One of the fires in the Modoc July Complex of fires on the Modoc National Forest in northeast California was extremely active Tuesday and Tuesday night. The Cove Fire, now three miles northwest of Adin, population 272, spread two to four miles to the southwest and one mile southeast, doubling in size. It added another 10,000 acres to bring the size to about 22,000 acres. All of the fires in the Complex combined have burned a total of 73,465 acres.

The Cove Fire became plume dominated Tuesday and by evening had generated cloud-to-cloud lightning and increased winds as a result of the intense heat buildup and atmospheric conditions. Extreme fire behavior in the form of fire whirls and spotting caused the fire to further advance southwest towards a prepared dozer line near County Roads 90 and 87. Resources were immediately deployed to connect the dozer line around the fire’s southwestern edge and protect structures. They utilized tactical firing to reinforce and create a buffer inside the dozer line.

The additional growth moved into lighter fuels which should offer less resistance to control.

Cove Fire map
Map of the Cove Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 1:30 a.m. PDT August 2, 2017. The white line was the perimeter about 27 hours before. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:48 a.m. PDT August 2.

Another fire in the Complex, the Steele Fire east of Clear Lake, was active but remained within the constructed fireline around the northeast corner of the fire. Crews put in handline along the east side to tie two dozer lines together and Wednesday will be working on fireline along the entire eastern edge.

All of the articles about the Modoc July Complex of fires can be found here, with the most recent at the top. 

Wildfires in Modoc County, California add another 11,000 acres

The Modoc July Complex of fires in northeast California has now covered 50,916 acres.

Above: Cove Fire, July 29, 2017. Uncredited photo on Inciweb.

(Originally published at 11:28 a.m. PDT July 31, 2017)

Two of the wildfires in the Modoc July Complex of fires in northeast California were very active Sunday, adding a combined 11,293 acres to bring the total burned area to 50,916 acres.

The Type 2 Incident Management Team transitioned to a Type 1 Team Monday morning, so we are in the usual dead zone for up to date fire information — yesterday was a time when the previous team does not want to step on the toes of the incoming team and today the new team is still getting their feet on the ground. This transition period can also be a time of heightened danger for firefighters out on the fire.

But the new team provided some additional information after 11 a.m. today, Monday.

map cove fire
Map of the Cove Fire in Modoc County, California. The red line was the perimeter at 11:30 p.m. PDT July 30. The white line was the perimeter 24 hours before. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:19 a.m. PDT July 31, 2017.

But we do know, thanks to overflights of the fires by a satellite and fixed wing aircraft, that the Cove Fire spread aggressively to the east and southeast. It is now about five miles northwest of Adin, a town that had 272 residents in the 2010 census.

Conditions Sunday along the southern edge permitted tactical firing operations from the 40N14 Road to the 40N09 Road to aid in securing the southern edge of the fire. Firefighters also conducted firing operations from the 40N14 Road to the 40N12 Road to strengthen firelines. The northern fireline held overnight with no additional fire spread.

Modoc July Complex of fires california
Map of the fires in the north portion of the Modoc July Complex of fires in Modoc County, California. The red line was the perimeter at 11:30 p.m. PDT July 30. The white line was the perimeter 24 hours before.

The other active fire in the Complex was the Steele Fire which also grew on the southeast side but did not spread as much as the Cove Fire farther south. Northeast winds pushed the fire across the 136 Road to the south in an additional location. Crews and dozers contained the 40-acre slopover and by Monday morning had mopped up 50 feet inside the line.

There has been very little growth on the Lake and Rimrock fires.

The weather forecast for Monday through Thursday for Canby, north of the Cove Fire, calls for temperatures around 100 with relative humidities about 10 percent. The wind, at 2 to 6 mph, will be from variable directions during the period. An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect for Tuesday through Thursday.

All of the articles about the Modoc July Complex of fires can be found here, with the most recent at the top. 

Fires in Modoc County, California grow by almost 20,000 acres

Combined, the fires have burned 39,623 acres.

Above: Fire engines on the Cove Fire, part of the Modoc July Complex of fires in northeast California: ANF E31 and ENF E364. Uncredited/undated photo on Inciweb.

(Originally published at 9:08 a.m. PDT July 30, 2017)

The Complex of lightning-caused wildfires in Modoc County in northeast California grew by almost 20,000 acres on Saturday, bringing the total to 39,623 acres.

Most of the fires are west of Highway 395 and east of Highway 139, but the Cove Fire that had burned approximately 3,500 acres as of 2 a.m. Sunday is south and west of highway 139, nine miles southwest of Canby. It was extremely active Saturday night advancing to the southeast. Firefighters are working to create a fireline by utilizing the existing Forest Service Road 40N14.

The map below shows the locations of the fires in Modoc County, California.

map Modoc July Complex fires California
Map of the Modoc July Complex of fires in northeast California. The red lines were the perimeters at 10:30 p.m. PT July 29, 2017. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2 a.m. PDT July 30, 2017. Click to enlarge.

One of the fires in the Complex, the Steele Fire east of Clear Lake, is currently 29,779 acres. On Saturday it crossed County Road 136 to the south, but crews and dozers were able to put a line around 75 percent of the slopover.

On Monday NorCal Incident Management Team 2 will turn over command of the fire to a Type 1 organization, the California Interagency Incident Management Team 4.

Modoc July Complex fires California
A hose lay on the Cove Fire. Uncredited/undated photo on Inciweb.

All of the articles about the Modoc July Complex of fires can be found here, with the most recent at the top. 

Detwiler Fire awakens, burns another 100 acres

Above: A spot fire at the north end of the Detwiler Fire July 27, 2017 between the main fire and Lake McClure. CAL FIRE photo.

(Originally published at 12:35 p.m. PDT July 28, 2017)

The Detwiler Fire south of Coulterville, California had been relatively quiet for several days, until Thursday when a spot fire took off outside the fireline near Lake McClure. It burned about 100 acres before firefighters could stop the spread. This brought the total size up to 81,650 acres.

spot fire detwiler fire
Map showing the location of the spot fire at the northern end of the Detwiler Fire, July 27, 2017.

These photos were provided by CAL FIRE. The helicopters were stationed at the helibase near Highway 49 north of Mariposa.

Detwiler Fire air tanker 116
USFS Air Tanker 116 sprays retardant on the spot fire on the north end of the Detwiler Fire, July 27, 2017. CAL FIRE photo.

helicopter Detwiler fire helicopter Detwiler fire helicopter Detwiler fire

All articles about the Detwiler Fire on Wildfire Today can be found here, with the most recent being at the top.