Walker Fire, near Idaho City, ID

Walker Fire
The Walker Fire in Grimes Creek, October 12, 2015. InciWeb photo.

The Walker Fire has burned about 4,200 acres since it started on October 10, 5 miles southwest of Idaho City, 5 miles east of the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, and 14 miles northeast of Boise.

It is difficult to find much information about it since the National Interagency Fire Center no longer updates the national situation report daily and the Great Basin Coordination Center’s web site reports “No Large Fires in GBCC”.

Strong winds on the day it started spread it across 2,500 acres by the next morning on lands managed by the Idaho Department of Lands, Southwest Forest Protective District, and the Boise National Forest. It is burning on both sides of Grimes Creek Road. Three cabins and one outbuilding have been destroyed.

The fire was very active on the north side on Tuesday.

Evacuations have been ordered for residents in Macks Creek, Wolf Creek, and Pine Creek.

Smoke from the fire has caused air quality alerts in the Treasure Valley area.

Walker Fire air tanker
A C-130 air tanker working on the Walker Fire near Idaho City, ID flies past Chair #6 in the Bogus Basin ski area. Photo by @Auroreanowl.
map Walker Fire
3-D map of the Walker Fire at 8 p.m. MT, October 13, 2015, looking northeast. Idaho City and Placerville are in the distance.

California: Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad

Map Poinsettia Fire, 1205 PDT, May 14, 2014
Map of the Poinsettia Fire, at 12:05 PDT, May 14, 2014, showing heat detected by a satellite. The location of the icons can be as much as a mile in error.

(UPDATED at 7:02 p.m. PDT, May 15, 2014)

All evacuation orders have been lifted for the 400-acre Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad.

The fire is now considered a regional event.  As of 12 p.m. today, CAL FIRE Team 4 has assumed unified command for the fires burning throughout the county. This now is being referred as the “San Diego Complex.”  

A deceased person has been found inside the perimeter of the Poinsettia Fire.

The City announced today that during mopup of the 400-acre blaze, firefighters were alerted to a transient encampment in the area of Ambrosia and Calliandra.  On checking the area, firefighters located a badly burned body. Further details about the deceased are unknown at this time and the investigation is ongoing. There have been no other reported injuries or fatalities.


(UPDATED at 5:31 p.m. PDT, May 14, 2014)

Due to still another fire, the Washitonia Fire west of Escondido, the campus of Cal State San Marcos has been evacuated. The City of San Marcos (@sanmarcoscity) reported at 4:35 p.m. that all neighborhoods south of San Marcos Blvd, including Lake San Marcos, are under a mandatory evacuation order.

The updated map below shows the spread of the Highway, Tomahawk, and Poinsettia Fires.

Tomahawk, Poinsettia, Highway, Fires, 322 pm PDT, May 14, 2014
Tomahawk, Poinsettia, Highway, Fires, 3:22 p.m. PDT, May 14, 2014. The square red icons represent heat detected by a satellite; the location of the icons can be as much as a mile in error.

Continue reading “California: Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad”

California: Rim Fire at Yosemite NP

(UPDATE at 9:45 a.m. PDT, September 10, 2012)

Horseshoe Meadows Hotshots Rim Fire
A crewmember of the Horseshoe Meadows Hotshots, on the Rim Fire, September 2, 2013. USFS Photo by Mike McMillan.

Firefighters have made some progress on the Rim Fire since our last update on September 4. As you can see in the map below, the fire has grown very little in the last six days, and most of the change in the fire perimeter is most likely a result of firefighters burning out the vegetation ahead of the fire.

Map of Rim Fire
Map of the Rim Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 1 a.m. PDT, September 10, 2013. The pink line was the perimeter at 9 p.m. PDT, September 3, 2013. The western boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)

The fire has burned 254,685 acres and the incident commander is calling it 80 percent contained. Over 3,000 personnel are assigned to the incident, down from more than 5,000 a week or so ago. Over the last 24 days since it started, the costs for suppressing the fire has grown to $100.4 million.


(UPDATE at 6:50 a.m. PDT, September 4, 2013)

Rim Fire burnout
Rim Fire burnout, September 1, 2013. Photo by Mike McMillan.

As shown in the map below, the spread of the Rim Fire has slowed considerably over the last several days. Most of the acreage increases are a result of burnout operations out ahead of the fire, sometimes miles from the fire’s edge, in order to remove the fuel, eventually stopping the spread. The west and southwest sides of the fire have been very quiet for a few days. The only significant movement of the fire which may not be related to burnouts are on the east side, with most of it being in the Cherry Lake area. On the southeast flank firefighters have selected Highway 120/Tioga Road as their fireline and are burning out along the north side.

The fire has burned 237,341 acres and the incident commander is calling it 80 percent contained. Another 3,000 acres and it becomes the third largest fire in California history.

Map of Rim Fire
Map of Rim Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 9 p.m. PDT, September 3, 2013. The pink line was the perimeter about 48 hours before. The red squares represent heat detected by a satellite at 10:40 p.m. PDT September 3, 2013. The boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)

The strategy and tactics employed by the firefighters appear to be working. Instead of choosing the NEXT ridge for a fireline or burnout, they are selecting the BEST ridge, or sometimes a road, as the place to make their stand. This gives them enough time to execute what can be a miles-long burnout operation, and allows them some flexibility to conduct it at a time when the weather is favorable. These tactics have been used successfully on some very large fires on the Los Padres National Forest, including the Whitewater-Baldy, Basin Complex, Indians, Iron Alps, and Zaca fires.

There are currently no mandatory or advisory evacuation orders effective in Mariposa County. The evacuation advisory has been lifted for Ponderosa Hills and areas east, along the south side of Highway 108 up to Pinecrest. Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows remains under evacuation.

Briefing at Rim Fire
Briefing at Rim Fire, September 2, 2013. Photo by Mike McMillan.



Continue reading “California: Rim Fire at Yosemite NP”

California: Orleans and Salmon River fire complexes

Map of Orleans and Salmon River Complexes of fires
Map of Orleans and Salmon River Complexes of fires (click to enlarge)

Two complexes of fires in northern California, shown on the maps, are seven miles apart but are on different national forests, which could be one reason they have not been combined into just one complex.

3-D Map of Salmon River and Orleans Complexes of fires August 3, 2013
3-D Map of Salmon River and Orleans Complexes of fires August 3, 2013 (click to enlarge)

Salmon River Complex 

The Salmon River Complex on the Klamath National Forest consists of at least two fires that as of early Sunday morning were about a tenth of a mile apart, burning 6 miles northeast of Forks of the Salmon, 2 miles northwest of Sawyers Bar, and 64 miles northwest of Redding. The Type 1 California Interagency Incident Management Team One assumed command of the Complex at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Orleans Complex 

The Orleans Complex comprises two fires on the Six Rivers National Forest. The Dance Fire is right at the community of Orleans and is burning on both sides of Highway 96. It started July 29 and is contained. The other is the Butler Fire 7 miles east of Orleans and about 49 miles northeast of Eureka. It was detected July 31, is listed at 3 percent containment, and has burned 1,463 acres. Northern California Interagency Team Two is managing the incident.

Salmon River Road, also known as Highway 93, is adjacent to three of these four fires and is closed.

Below is an update from the incident management team:

The fire reached the Morehouse Mine area, where structures are threatened. As of this morning, the fire lines are holding around those structures. The fire continues to burn mostly on the south side of the Salmon River in the area east of Butler Flat. Efforts to reach a spot fire on the north side of the river continue to be hampered by poor visibility and steep terrain. The fire was active around the perimeter yesterday and progressed across Lewis Creek (on the southern side) and into Grant Creek drainage (on the northeastern side). The fire is burning in the fire scars of the Hog Fire (1977). Difficult terrain, heavy vegetation, snags and poor access to the fire have continued to limit firefighting strategies. Crews are working today to open and utilize lines from the Somes Fire (2006).

Smoke issues

All of these fires are burning in an area that is infamous for long-duration fires subject to frequent inversions that trap wildfire smoke, sometimes creating air quality and health issues for sensitive residents. The incident management teams are referring residents to these websites for more information about the smoke:

On Saturday dense smoke limited the use of aircraft and the ability of fire managers to get an aerial view of the fires. A USFS fixed-wing aircraft using infrared equipment mapped the Salmon River Complex Saturday night.

Colorado: East Peak Fire

(UPDATE at 8:30 a.m. MDT, June 25, 2013)

There was no major change in the East Peak Fire over the last 24 hours. Below is a Monday evening update from the Incident Management Team:

In spite of high winds, low humidity and critical fuel conditions, growth on the East Peak Fire was minimal and containment increased to 50%. The estimated size of the fire is 13,388 acres. Due to the wind, helicopters were grounded for most of the day. Despite the challenge of high winds, firefighters made progress in mop up and patrolling the fire perimeter and engine crews ensured structure protection. Mop up and patrol will continue for the overnight shift and into tomorrow. Resources continue to arrive, totaling in 631 personnel assigned to this fire.


(UPDATE at 8:25 a.m. MDT June 24, 2013)

Under overcast skies on Sunday there was not much change in the East Peak Fire. It was most active on the west and southeast sides and grew by a few hundred acres, bringing its total to about 12,800 acres.


(UPDATE at 8:55 p.m. MDT, June 23, 2013)

East Peak Fire
East Peak Fire, unknown date. Photo by Don Degman

Below is an update from the Incident Management Team at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday:

Overcast conditions set up a successful burnout operation on the East Peak Fire today. ““I’’m very pleased with the results of the burnout today. It went really smoothly”,” said Craig Beckner, Operations Section Chief. Aided by favorable winds from southeast, the burnout operation helped to reinforce control line on the southern boundary of the fire.

On the western perimeter, a very large airtanker made a retardant drop that will assist firefighters with constructing handline tomorrow in very steep terrain.

Cooler conditions and overcast skies kept the fire from gaining much acreage and is now at 12,996 acres.

Mandatory evacuations are still in effect for a large portion of the fire area. However, Huerfano County Sheriff, Bruce Newmann, started letting residents back into some closure areas.

Air Tanker 910, a DC-10, dropped 46,400 gallons of retardant on the fire today in four sorties.


(UPDATE at 8:24 a.m. MDT, June 23, 2013)

Map of East Peak Fire, 2 a.m. MDT, June 23, 2013
Map of East Peak Fire, 2 a.m. MDT, June 23, 2013

The East Peak Fire in southern Colorado grew by about 1,000 acres Saturday, bringing its total to approximately 12,000 acres. It is 11 miles southwest of Walsenburg and about 9 miles west of Aguilar.

There are an estimated 300 properties within the evacuation area. An American Red Cross shelter has been established at the John Mall High School in Walsenburg, Colorado. Evacuated animals, large or small can be taken to the Fairgrounds in La Veta, Colorado.

The Incident Management Team reports that 10 “primary” structures have burned along with 4 outbuildings.


Map of East Peak Fire
Map of East Peak Fire, showing heat detected by a satellite at 11:05 p.m. MDT, June 21, 2013. (click to see a larger version)

(UPDATE at 5:15 p.m. MDT, June 22, 2013)

The incident management team running the East Peak Fire sent this Tweet at 3:21 p.m. Saturday:


(Originally published at 9:47 a.m. MDT, June 22, 2013)

The East Peak fire has burned about 11,000 acres in the southern part of Colorado 25 miles from the New Mexico border. As you can see from the map above, at 11 p.m. Friday night it was approximately 7 miles west of Aguilar and about 10 miles southwest of Walsenburg, according to the data provided by the satellite. The location of the square icons can be as much as a mile in error.

Rocky Mountain Type 2 Incident Management Team C, with Incident Commander Jay Esperance, assumed command of the Fire at 6:00 pm, Friday, June 21.

Map of Colorado wildfires, June 22, 2013

Map of Colorado fires June 22, 2013. Wildfire Today.The map shows the large wildfires in Colorado that are still active and spreading, and the acres burned for each. The Papoose and West Fork fires have now been combined into the “West Fork Complex”.  We have more information about the West Fork Complex and the East Peak Fire.