Bybee Creek Fire burns up to Crater Lake

Bybee Creek Fire

Above: Tanker 55, a CV-580, drops water on the Bybee Creek Fire July 28, 2016. NPS photo. Click to enlarge.

The Bybee Creek Fire has burned close to the rim of the Crater Lake caldera in southwest Oregon. The 720-acre fire, when throwing out burning embers up to a half mile ahead, created one spot fire inside the caldera in Crater Lake National Park.

Bybee Creek Fire
A spot fire inside the Crater Lake caldera on the Bybee Creek Fire. Undated NPS photo.

Information released by the Type 3 incident management team Wednesday morning reported that a fireline has been completed around the entire fire, but some of it is indirect. Firefighters will burn out the fuel between the line and the fire as soon as conditions are favorable.

A Type 1 incident management team has been ordered and some of its members were on scene Wednesday morning. A decision will be made, in light of the current state of the fire, if the Type 1 team will assume command of the fire.

Bybee Creek Fire
3-D map of the Bybee Creek Fire in Crater Lake National Park. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:06 a.m. PDT August 3, 2016; the yellow dots were from the previous six days. Click to enlarge.

The fire is burning in the scar from the 2006 Bibee Fire. One of the objectives of the incident management team is to keep the fire east of the Pacific Crest Trail, which is closed near the fire.

The Rim Village and National Park Headquarters are under a Level 1 evacuation notice — be ready to leave immediately.

Two water-scooping CL-415 air tankers, helicopters, and large air tankers have been assisting the firefighters on the ground. We asked spokesperson Lucinda Nolan if the helicopters were obtaining water from Crater Lake and she said “Gosh, no.” The scoopers are using water from Lost Creek Lake 27 miles southeast of the fire. Ms. Nolan said the air tankers have been dropping fugitive retardant which fades quickly to become nearly invisible, and water.

Fire Aviation has photos of the scoopers and other air tankers which have been based at the Medford, Oregon airport.

Bybee Creek Fire
Bybee Creek Fire July 29, 2016. NPS photo.

The park is still open, but a section of the West Rim Road is closed.

Crater Lake
Crater Lake, July 22, 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

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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.