Cold Creek Fire burns over 40,000 acres in Washington

It is 31 miles east of Yakima

Cold Creek Fire
The Cold Creek Fire on the Hanford Reach National Monument. Photo by Franklin County Fire District 3.

A human-caused wildfire in south/central Washington has burned 41,920 acres 31 miles east of Yakima (see the map below). The fire has spread onto a portion of the Hanford Nuclear site that is closed to visitors but does not pose a danger to the public, according to the Washington state Department of Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program — the agency responsible for oversight of federal environmental cleanup at the site.

The fire began Thursday morning as two fires burned together, and by 6 p.m. had blackened 8,000 acres.

Cold Creek Fire
A portion of the 41,000 acres that burned in the Cold Creek Fire. Photo by Washington Dept. of Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program.

By Saturday afternoon the spread of the fire had slowed considerably and firefighters expect to have it contained by Sunday.

The Cold Creek Fire is the largest in Washington so far this year. The next largest was the 243 Command Fire that burned 20,380 acres 13 miles west of Royal City.

Map of the Cold Creek Fire
Map of the Cold Creek Fire at 2 p.m. PDT July 19, 2019, by David Winter. Click to enlarge.

14 aircraft and 367 firefighters are battling the Cellar Fire 14 miles east of Yarnell, Arizona

Map of the Cellar Fire
Map of the Cellar Fire, at 7:50 p.m. July 18, 2019 by the Incident Management Team.

The 7,000-acre Cellar Fire 15 miles south of Prescott, Arizona was active Thursday afternoon primarily on the northeast side as 7 air tankers, 7 helicopters, and 13 hand crews worked to limit the spread (see the map above). A total of 367 personnel are assigned to the fire.

The overall strategy of the Type 1 Incident Management Team led by Alan Sinclair is full 100 percent suppression. Structure protection is in place on the 52 Road (the Senator Highway). The highway may be used as a holding feature if the fire continues to move east.

The Incident Management Team reported that a DC-10 Very Large Air Tanker was effective in slowing the fire’s spread on the east side. Additional air tankers continued to support hotshot crews working on the northwest flank of the fire.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office issued a Code Red ‘GO’ mandatory evacuation for the residents in Pine Flat affecting 41 residences and 21 outbuildings. A total of 690 structures are threatened. A shelter has been established at the Prescott High School.

The weather at Crown King, 6 miles southeast of the fire, is predicted to be about the same Friday and Saturday as it was on Thursday — temperature in the high 80s and relative humidity in the teens. The wind will be a little stronger, generally out of the west or southwest at 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 20. This translates to no relief for the firefighters, however there are some fire scars out ahead of the Cellar Fire that could decrease the intensity and resistance to control.

Map of the Cellar Fire
Map of the Cellar Fire — from a mapping flight at 10 p.m. MDT July 18, 2019.


Red Flag Warnings issued for five western states

The National Weather Service has issued Red Flag Warnings for elevated wildfire danger on July 18, 2019 for areas of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, and Washington.  As you can see on the map most of them expire Thursday night, with the exception of the warning in northwest Colorado that is in effect until 9 p.m. Friday.

The forecasts for these areas include strong winds and low humidity.

(Red Flag Warnings can be modified throughout the day as NWS offices around the country update and revise their weather forecasts.)

Red Flag Warnings July 18, 2019
Red Flag Warnings in effect July 18, 2019.


Sounds of a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park

Maple Fire
A scene from the Maple Fire in Yellowstone National Park, August 14, 2016.
National Park Service photo by Jennifer Jerrett.

The National Park Service recorded audio of flames spreading at the heel, or the back side, of the Maple Fire August 8, 2016 in Yellowstone National Park. Recorded from about 15 feet away, the fire activity was not extremely intense, but at about 14 seconds, you’ll hear a small clump of lodgepole pine trees burst into flames, or “torch.” In listening to the 60-second audio file below, you might want to turn up the volume.

The Maple Fire burned over 40,000 acres northeast of West Yellowstone, Montana.

Maple Fire burns at Yellowstone National Park
The Maple Fire burns at Yellowstone National Park in 2016. The fire affected forests recovering from the park’s historic 1988 fires. National Park Service photo by Jennifer Jerrett. 
map Maple fire
The red line was the perimeter of the Maple Fire at 9 p.m. MDT Sept 2, 2016. The white line was the perimeter on August 29.

Articles on Wildfire Today tagged “Maple Fire”.

Lookout tower in Yellowstone burns

Mt Holmes lookout burned
Mt. Holmes Lookout in Yellowstone National Park burned Tuesday, July 16, 2019. NPS photo.

The historic Mount Holmes Fire Lookout burned in Yellowstone National Park Tuesday after being struck by lightning. It had not been regularly staffed since 2007. The fire was reported Tuesday by the employee who staffs the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout.

The lookout is in the northwest corner of the park southwest of Mammoth Hot Springs.

Mt Holmes lookout
Mt Holmes lookout in 1975; NPS photo by RJK.

The structure fire also damaged a park radio repeater.

Wednesday morning, July 17, three employees including the park fire chief attempted to fly to the 10,000-foot lookout via helicopter to assess the damage. However, the flight was diverted to a higher priority incident outside the park. While en route, the helicopter manager snapped a photo of the burned lookout.
Wednesday afternoon, staff attempted to fly to the lookout again but were grounded due to strong winds. Additional attempts will be made in the next few days.

“Built in 1931, and renovated in 1998, the Mount Holmes Fire Lookout maintained its historic-era role as one of Yellowstone National Park’s staffed lookout stations until 2007″,said Yellowstone National Park Deputy Superintendent Pat Kenney. “The building was eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, both for its significance in early park resource protection efforts, and as an outstanding example of the rustic architectural style that typified early park architecture. We are disappointed that this historic structure, as a window into the past, is gone.”

The Mount Washburn Fire Lookout is currently staffed seven days a week, mid-June through mid-September. If warranted, three additional lookouts can be staffed.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Mr.Capt. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Forest Service is managing a 7,000-acre wildfire south of Prescott, Arizona

The Cellar Fire is 16 miles south of Prescott

Cellar Fire Arizona
The Cellar Fire in Arizona. July 16, 2019. USFS photo.

A wildfire 10 miles southwest of Mayer, Arizona (see the map below) has burned about 7,000 acres in the Prescott National Forest. According to the National Situation Report the agency is not intending to fully suppress the fire, but instead is managing it to enhance the natural resources. They will take action as needed to herd it around or protect values at risk.

Map showing location Cellar Fire Arizona
Map showing the location of the Cellar Fire 16 miles south of Prescott, Arizona. The red dot represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:39 p.m. MDT July 17, 2019.

Believed to have been started by lightning, it was reported on July 14 burning in grass and brush but is spreading northeast into ponderosa pine west of the Senator Highway (FR 52).

A Type 1 Incident Management Team is expected to assume command of the fire Thursday, July 18 at 6:00 am.

As a precaution the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office issued a Code Red for the community of Pine Flat. The ‘SET’ alert was issued last night by the Sheriff’s Department. There are NO evacuations currently in effect. For information on the Code Red issued call (928) 771-3321.

The US Forest Service and the Air Tanker Base at Prescott Regional Airport expects heavy aircraft activity out of airport over the next couple of days as they continue to assist with the fire.

Cellar Fire Arizona
Cellar Fire in Arizona. July 16, 2019. USFS photo.