Davis fire update, Aug. 28

UPDATE @ 10:00 August 29, 2010

Davis fire
Davis fire, looking east. Aug. 28, 2010. USFS photo.

More accurate mapping of the Davis escaped prescribed fire reveals that the number of acres burned as of Saturday is 2,170. Fire managers are calling it 15% contained. The weather is cooperating, and the 50-60% chance of rain that was predicted turned into 0.04″ of rain early this morning at the weather station at Lincoln, which recorded a low temperature of 31 degrees Saturday morning. The spot weather forecast for the fire area calls for occasional rain showers today, northeast winds becoming west at 5-10, and a low of 35-40 tonight with rain showers overnight.

An updated map of the Davis fire is available HERE (it is a large file).

Information about road closures.

Here is information provided by the fire managers:

Saturday’s Activities: Saturday was a good, productive and safe day on the line. Crews built and improved fire lines with support from helicopters. No air tanker support with retardant was needed. Some air resources were released at the end of shift Saturday for reassignment.

Sunday’s Strategy: Crews and equipment will continue to construct and improve fire lines and work on spot fires outside the fire perimeter with support from helicopters. Hose lays are in place on the west flank of the fire to support mop up operations. The goal is for fire fighters to extinguish any hot spots within 120 feet of the fire’s edge.

UPDATE @ 11:46 a.m. MT Aug. 28, 2010

We now have the first official map of the Davis fire near Helena, MT that has been released by the U. S. Forest Service. The fire perimeter and heat was detected during an infrared mapping flight yesterday at about 10:30 p.m. (disregard the “AM” on the map legend) by N144Z, a USFS-owned Cessna Citation Bravo jet. To see a higher resolution copy of the map, download the 670K pdf HERE.

Davis fire map 8-27-2010
Map of the Davis fire. Data from an infrared flight on Aug. 27. USFS map.


Davis fire map August 28 2010
The map of the Davis fire shows heat detected by satellites at 2:54 a.m. MT on Aug. 28. Click to see a larger version of the map.

The Davis fire, between Lincoln and Helena, Montana, was quieter on Friday than it was on Thursday, due in large part to the cooler weather.

Davis fire
Firemen line the Stemple Pass Road Thursday, while waiting for the Davis Fire to calm down. Dylan Brown photo.

The overnight satellite imagery showed very little active burning, and that the eastern side of the fire is near the boundary of the national forest. The latest official acreage estimate from a 9 a.m. USFS update today is 2,800 with 5% containment, but there was a fixed wing infrared mapping flight of the fire last night at about 10:30 p.m. by N144Z, a USFS-owned Cessna Citation jet, which should provide an accurate map and the number of acres burned. When the Incident Management Team releases that information we will post it.

A list of current road and trail closures can be found HERE.

Nancy Peak, the Forest Supervisor for the Helena National Forest, said the agency will be conducting a review of the incident, to determine if there are any lessons to be learned from the 100-acre prescribed fire that escaped and burned private land and required two dozen homeowners to evacuate. District Ranger Amber Kamps said earlier that the fire was within the prescription when they ignited it on Wednesday.

As we wrote yesterday, the weather forecast for the fire area brings some good news, including a 50-60% chance of rain Saturday night and Sunday morning. On Saturday the temperature will be 55 to 70, depending on the elevation, and winds should be light and variable, becoming 5-10 out of the northeast on the ridge tops in the afternoon.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.