NC: Evans Road fire update

The Evans Road fire in eastern North Carolina is going to be with us until a hurricane-style rain event occurs. It takes a lot of water to penetrate into several feet of peat. The size of the fire is being reported as 41,060 acres. The firefighters are still pumping huge quantities of water from nearby lakes onto the fire–19,000 gallons per minute.

In addition to Hendricks Type 2 Incident Management Team, there are two National Incident Management Organization teams on the fire, Custer’s and Whitney’s. There are 476 people working on the fire and it is 40% contained.

Below is a map showing the fire perimeter in yellow–and in red, orange, and black, the heat detected by satellites last night. I have not seen any evidence of the massive burnout operation the fire spokesperson mentioned last week that was going to occur on the east side along highway 94. Click on the map and photo to see larger versions.


The picture below shows a burnout operation on Seagoing Road.
Photo courtesy of InciWeb.

Engine burnover near Lincoln, California

Another engine burnover–this time it was two Placer County Fire Department brush engines on the Nicolaus fire near Lincoln, CA on June 11. Here is an excerpt from CalFire’s “24-hour report” recently released:

On June 11, 2008 at 0949 hours, Placer County Fire units were dispatched to a vegetation fire at Nicolaus Road near Dowd Road, west of the City of Lincoln in Placer County. The fire occurred during a north wind event under a Red Flag Warning. BR 75, staffed with one Placer County Volunteer Firefighter, arrived first at scene reporting a wind driven five acre fire.

BR 75 drove down a dirt road paralleling the left flank of the fire. Engine 70 (E70) arrived and reported 7-10 acres with no structures threatened and assumed incident command (IC). BR 73 arrived next, staffed with one CAL FIRE Fire Apparatus Engineer and one Firefighter I. BR 73 followed BR 75 down the dirt road on the left flank. The right flank was inaccessible at this time.

Approximately seven minutes into the fire, E70 (IC) reported that units were being burned over. Appropriate EMS was requested.

The volunteer firefighter from BR 75 sought refuge on the leeward side of the apparatus. The fire intensity continued to increase and he retreated to safety, crossing a barbed wire fence, into a stubble field immediately to the east of the dirt road. He was met by apparatus and personnel from Lincoln Fire Department and escorted to ambulance personnel.

The CAL FIRE Firefighters from BR 73 tried to seek refuge in the cab, but were quickly overrun. They retreated through the flame front to the west, into the burn. Both of the firefighters walked north through the burn and exited where E70 was parked on Nicolaus Road.

All firefighters were treated and transported to UC Davis Medical Center. The volunteer firefighter from BR 75 received burns to the nose, was treated and released. The firefighters from BR 73 remain in the Burn Unit in stable condition with burns to the face and hands. They are expected to remain at UC Davis Medical Center for 7 to 10 days.

The Nicolaus Fire was contained at 1140 hours to 65 acres on June 11, 2008.

More details about Los Padres engine burnover

The US Forest Service released some additional information about the engine burnover that occurred on the Indians fire on the Los Padres National Forest in California on June 11:

Narrative: At approximately 1615 hours while supporting a firing operation, Engine-71 was involved in a localized fire blow-up. A cyclonic fire wind event caused four members of Engine-71 to be overcome by the fire. The crew was suppressing spot fires near the roads edge when they experienced extreme fire and wind behavior. Winds were estimated to be 60 – 70 mph. Limbs from large oak trees were blown out of trees and small, golf ball size rocks, were thrown into the air. The radiant heat caused the burns to the fire fighters. Initially, the firefighters were treated at the ICP medical unit, two were sent to a local hospital for further treatment and the most serious burn victim was flown to Valley Burn Center in Santa Clara. A fourth firefighter did not initially seek treatment. After further consideration, the 4th firefighter chose to see a physician. The three firefighters have been referred to the Fresno Burn Center for further examination.

An Accident Prevention Analysis (APA) team has been ordered to review this incident.

Vinyl siding–melts

Firegeezer is always a good place to go to read about the broader fire world. You may have noticed on the left side of this page in the “Other Fire Blogs” section, we automatically show an excerpt from his latest post.

He pointed to an interesting story (with cool pictures) on STATer911 about a vehicle fire that melted the vinyl siding on a nearby house. In wildland fire, we emphasize fire safe building materials. Vinyl siding is not fire safe.

Firewise.org advises:

Materials that melt or burn in relatively low temperatures, such as PVC and vinyl siding, should not be used, since they do not provide adequate protection and can melt in the heat of the wildfire.

California: Indians and Humbolt fires

Indians Fire
On Wednesday a U.S. Forest Service engine from the Los Padres NF was burned over while they were attacking a spot fire. The wind shifted, they were cut off, and three firefighters suffered burn injuries. According to a release from the USFS:

Two received minor burns to their ears; one sustained burns to his ears and serious burns to his hands and was transported to a hospital for further treatment.

All of the firefighters were treated and released at a burn center.

The fire is burning in the Los Padres National Forest in the Ventana Wilderness west of Fort Hunter Liggett and King City. It has been extremely active for the last two days–plume dominated with multiple columns, and has burned 24,818 acres. Some of those acres were very close to the incident command post.

The map shows heat detected by satellites last night in red. The yellow line is the fire perimeter as reported by the Incident Management Team on the fire, showing that the fire has doubled in size since the last perimeter was uploaded. Click on the maps to see larger versions.

Humboldt Fire
This fire is burning near Chico, California and has consumed 22,996 acres and 66 residences. Evacuations for Paradise, Butte Valley and Butte Creek Canyon are in effect, displacing 9,000 residents; 2,877 firefighters and 406 engines are assigned.

The map below shows the fire perimeter as reported by the Incident Management Team at 1800 on June 12.


Launch of GLAST

I was impressed by this extraordinary picture of a Delta II rocket carrying the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) being launched at Cape Canaveral. Click on it to see a larger version.