According to the Incident Management Team, the Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon/Washington border is nowhere near contained — they are calling it 46 percent.
The fire started on the south side of the river September 2, allegedly by a teenager playing with fireworks, and grew rapidly on September 5, spotting across the river into Washington near Archer Mountain.
Cooler temperatures and higher humidity levels helped slow fire growth over last week or so, and as of September 23rd, it is 48,668 acres.
These excellent photos were taken by the Incident Management Team this weekend. They show vast areas of burned trees but also large swaths of green canopy.
Today there are 71 large uncontained wildfires in the United States.
Above: the red and orange dots on the map represent heat on wildfires detected by a satellite in the 24 hours before 7:30 a.m. MDT September 11, 2017. Heat found before that is not shown.
(Originally published at 7:45 a.m. MDT September 11, 2017)
In spite of the hurricanes impacting the southeast United States, the wildfires in the Cascade Range and the Northern Rockies persevere in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.
Off and on over the last week they have slowed as clouds and even some scattered very light showers passed over the areas, but the National Interagency Fire Center reported today there are 71 active large fires, 32 that are being suppressed and 39 that are being suppressed only where needed to protect property.
So far this year 8.2 million acres have burned in the United States, which is 46 percent higher than the 5.6 million average to this date.
The weather for Monday and Tuesday could be conducive to fire growth, especially in Northwest Montana where a Red Flag Warning is in effect Monday. But Wednesday through Saturday will bring a chance of rain to Idaho and Western Montana, while the forecast for Northern California, Oregon, and Washington looks dry this week.
(Originally published at 6:36 p.m. MDT September 7, 2017.)
These maps show heat that was detected by a satellite on wildfires in the northwestern United States during the 24-hour period ending at 6 p.m. Thursday September 7, 2017. We did not include heat from the 6 days previous to the last 24 hours.
If there was heat found, it means the fires are still active, however some of it could be from proactive burning by firefighters to secure the area between firelines and the edge of the fires.
Above: Personal Protective Equipment is distributed to soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in preparation for deployment to the Umpqua North Fire in Oregon.
(Originally published at 7:53 a.m. MDT September 7r, 2017)
With the National Preparedness Level at 5, the highest level, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho has mobilized active duty military personnel to serve as firefighters to assist with wildfire suppression efforts.
The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) at NIFC requested the Department of Defense to provide 200 active duty military personnel to assist with firefighting efforts. The DoD has approved the request and identified the 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team (23rd Brigade Engineer Battalion and 1st Battalion 23rd Infantry Regiment), 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington to provide the active duty military personnel. The Soldiers will be organized into ten crews of 20 persons each, all of which will be sent to the Umpqua North Complex which is burning on approximately 30,000 acres on the Umpqua National Forest, approximately 50 miles east of Roseburg, Oregon.
“We are committed to continuing to do everything we can to provide the firefighters, aircraft, engines, and other wildfire suppression assets that Incident Commanders need to protect lives, property, and valuable natural and cultural resources,” said Dan Buckley, Chair of NMAC. “The U.S. military is a key partner in wildland firefighting and we greatly appreciate their willingness to provide us with Soldiers to serve as firefighters as well as aircraft to help with wildfire suppression efforts.”
Their training, which began September 6, is expected to conclude by September 9th, and the Soldiers are expected to begin working on a wildfire on September 10th. While on a wildfire, the Soldiers will be accompanied by experienced wildland fire strike team leaders and crew bosses from wildland fire management agencies.
The training will consist of one day of classroom training at JBLM and two days of field training when the Soldiers reach the wildfire that they will be assigned to.
The last time that active duty military personnel were mobilized to serve as wildland firefighters was in August, 2015 when 200 soldiers from the 17th Field Artillery Brigade based out of JBLM were mobilized to work on wildfires in Washington for 30 days. The last time before that was in 2006. Currently, several states – including Oregon, Montana, and Washington – have mobilized National Guard helicopters and personnel to serve as wildland firefighters to assist with wildfire suppression efforts.
More than 27,000 firefighters are deployed on wildfires in the United States.
(Originally published at 10:35 a.m. MDT September 6, 2107)
These maps show the locations of large wildfires that are currently active in the Northwest United States. The red, yellow, and orange dots represent heat detected by a satellite in the 24 hour period ending at 10 a.m. MDT September 6.
According to the National Interagency Coordination Center, today there are 50 large uncontained wildfires in the United States that are being aggressively suppressed. In addition, there are another 35 fires that are not being fully suppressed.
Very large numbers of firefighting resources are currently assigned across the United States, including 560 hand crews, 1,865 engines, and 222 helicopters, for a total of 27,256 personnel.
As of yesterday 7.9 million acres has burned this year nationally, which compares to the 10-year average of 5.4 million acres for this date.
The video below shows heat and smoke in Idaho and Montana detected by a satellite on September 3 and 4, 2017.
Above: The image shows heat detected by a satellite August 31 and September 1, 2017. The red dots are the most recent, early Friday morning.
The Diamond Creek Fire in the Pasayten Wilderness in the Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest has crossed the Washington/British Columbia border and spread three miles into Canada. The Incident Management Team reports the total size of the fire is over 52,000 acres.