The Beaver Creek fire has not spread as much in the last two days as it did last week. This is due in part to the fire hitting the footprint of the 2007 Castle Rock Fire west of Ketchum, which can be seen on the map below posted on August 17.
The interior of the fire was active Sunday and there was some fire growth on the north and south ends of the fire. Red Flag conditions, including higher temperatures and wind gusts to 38 miles per hour, increased fire activity on the Beaver Creek Fire Sunday afternoon and evening. 1,150 firefighters working with 10 helicopters and 8 bulldozers expanded fire lines while large unburned areas within the fire lines and along the north and south edges of the fire sent columns of smoke 15,000 feet into the air. The fire is now 104,457 acres in size
Extreme fire behavior occurred on the Beaver Creek Fire again on Friday, prompting additional evacuations, preevacuation warnings and the ordering of additional resources. The fire was active in the Greenhorn Gulch, Deer Creek, Dollarhide, and Baker Creek areas. The Baker Creek head of the fire produced a massive pyrocumulous column, while fire whirls, torching trees, and crown fire were visible from Hailey and the Highway 75 corridor leading to Ketchum.
At least one home, a bunkhouse and five other structures have been destroyed. However, the exact number of structures destroyed or damaged on August 15 is unknown. At least one primary residence was destroyed and there was damage to several others. The bridge on FS road 227 which connects Ketchum and Fairfield was destroyed. The loss of multiple outbuildings is certain. One Remote Automatic Weather Station (RAWS) was also destroyed.
Congressional hearing about Wildfire and Forest Management
On Thursday the House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing about wildland fire and forest management. You can watch a 2 hour and 15 minute video of it at C-SPAN. (Are there any volunteers who would like to watch it and give us a summary?)
Here is how it is described at C-SPAN:
“Wildfire and Forest Service officials testified on ways to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. The hearing also focused on the increasing number and intensity of wildfires in the West and Southwest.
Representatives Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) testified in the first panel.
Jim Hubbard, Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
James Douglas, Acting Director, office of Wildland Fire, Senior Adviser, Public Safety, Resource Protection and Emergency Services, U.S. Department of the Interior
Phil Rigdon, Deputy Director, Yakama Indian Nation Department of Natural Resources
Joe Duda, Deputy State Forester, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University
Christopher Topik, Director, Restoring America’s Forestsm, North America Region
Chuck Roady, Vice President & General Manager, F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company”
NIFC lowers Preparedness Level
The National Interagency Fire Center has lowered the national Preparedness Level from 3 to 2.
MAFFS sent home
By the end of the day the U.S. Forest Service will release the four Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS) C-130 air tankers being operated by the military. The last four remaining are from California and North Carolina.
Map of Chariot Fire
CAL FIRE, the agency responsible for suppressing the devastating wildfire that spread from the desert to the mountain community of Mt. Laguna east of San Diego, still has not released a current map of the fire showing that it burned significant acreage in the Cleveland National Forest and wiped out much of the Al Bahr Shrine Camp. Their last map is dated July 8. Approximately 149 structures were destroyed and 9 were damaged.
The map below shows the distribution of smoke from fires in the United States and Canada as of 4:40 p.m. MDT, July 12, 2013.
A memorial site was dedicated today to honor the four people that died when the Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS) C-130 air tanker crashed in South Dakota exactly a year ago. MAFFS 7, from the 145 Airlift Wing in North Carolina, was dropping retardant to slow the spread of the White Draw Fire when it encountered turbulent air and crashed, killing Lt. Col Paul K. Mikeal, 42; Maj. Joseph M. McCormick, 36; Maj. Ryan S. David, 35, and Senior Master Sgt. Roberts S. Cannon, 50. Two crew members survived, Chief Master Sgt. Andy Huneycutt, and Master Sgt. Joshua Marlowe.
Family members had the opportunity Sunday to travel to the crash site about eight miles northeast of Edgemont, South Dakota. The new memorial is approximately 6 miles northeast of Edgemont on Highway 18 near the point of origin of the fire (map) where the motor home that started the blaze caught fire while pulling the grade between Edgemont and Hot Springs. The memorial consists of a gravel parking area with room for about six vehicles and it has two interpretive panels — one describing the White Draw Fire and the other covers the accident and the four victims.
The image above is a screen capture from a video of a C-130 Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS) air tanker dropping on the Papoose Fire in Colorado this week. The drop was mostly complete at this moment — the shadow of the aircraft and the retardant is surreal. I wonder if it threw off or confused the pilots.
He also said the USFS hopes to obtain the C-27J aircraft that the Air Force may decide to declare surplus, and the agency would outfit them with scaled down versions of the Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS) retardant tank systems that are used in military C-130s, rather than conventional gravity-powered tanks.