Above: The Walker Fire was beneath a layer of clouds at 7:46 Wednesday morning. Two photos stitched together, Dyer Mountain camera, Nevada Seismo Lab.
(Originally published at 8:45 a.m. PDT Sept. 11, 2019)
The growth of the Walker Fire 17 miles south of Susanville, California slowed Tuesday due to cooler weather. The temperature reached a high of only 54 degrees while it plummeted to 38 degrees by 6:15 Wednesday morning at the Pierce weather station 5 miles north of the fire. The relative humidity after midnight was in the 80s, which can slow fire behavior, giving firefighters a chance to gain more containment.
As you can see in the photo above, the fire was under a layer of clouds at 7:46 a.m. Wednesday. Two new cameras at Dyer Mountain occasionally are pointed southeast toward the fire.
Much of the growth of the fire Tuesday was on the east and south portions, with the largest area of activity being around Papoose Peak. The perimeter grew by 981 acres to bring the total up to 48,321 acres
Below is a flyover of the Walker Fire via Google Earth. The red line was the perimeter mapped by a fixed wing aircraft at 10:16 p.m. PDT September 9, 2019. The fire was 17 miles south of Susanville, California and had burned 47,340 acres.
The flyover begins at the southwest corner of the fire near the “Walker Fire” pin on the map below the video.
The Walker Fire grew Friday but not as much as as in previous days, adding 3,409 acres to bring the total up to 47,340. Part of the increase was a result of firing operations along County Road 176 and other roads on the north end of the fire, south and southeast of Antelope Lake.
The fire held on the north side and dozers continued building line to mitigate the spot fire on the northeast. Crews continued mop-up operations on the southeast flank of the fire north of Ingalls Peak utilizing aircraft and engine resources for water delivery. The west flank of the fire is holding along Wheeler Ridge. Containment lines held on Forest Road 25N42, Flournoy Road. Crews will continue structure defense, containment operations, and holding what’s in place through the night.
The map below only shows the north end of the fire where some of the firing operations are underway. Scroll down to see a map of the entire fire and the surrounding area.
Based on the weather forecast for Tuesday the fire activity should be slower than in recent days. There is a 60 to 70 percent chance of precipitation and the minimum relative humidity will be in the high 40s. The temperature will max out at 55 after plunging to 43 overnight at the Pierce weather station 5 miles north of the fire.
(UPDATED at 11:18 a.m. PDT September 9, 2019)
The maps of the Walker Fire produced by data from the mapping aircraft Saturday and Sunday nights indicate that the fire grew incrementally along approximately 90 to 95 percent of the fire’s edge during that 27 hour period. This indicates that there is still a great deal of work left for the 660 personnel assigned — 12 hand crews, 51 fire engines, and 6 helicopters. The fire added another 5,882 acres to bring the total up to 43,931 acres.
There were no huge areas of fire growth like Saturday night when two large fingers, 2 and 4.5 miles long, raced off to the northeast. Generally on Sunday the fire spread in most areas less than a tenth of a mile, however there were some locations where it grew half a mile to a mile.
The Walker Fire is now 5 miles west of Highway 395, 15 miles northeast of Quincy, and 17 miles south of Susanville.
Here is information from a Monday morning update issued by the Incident Management Team:
The fire activity decreased last night over the fire area. Containment line that is in place held. On the east side of the fire, dozer line was constructed around the northeastern leading edge of the fire near Round Mountain and Stoney Creek. Hose lays will be installed to reinforce the containment lines. Dozers continued progress constructing dozer line advancing north from Ingalls Peak. Crews constructed line directly along the southeast-east edge of the fire which held as well. Firefighters constructed fireline around the structures on the southwest edge of the fire to further protect the structures. The fire is staying in place at the 25N42 road. Structure preparation is complete around structures to the west of Wheeler Peak drainage.
The weather forecast for the fire area for Monday calls for 61 degrees, 37 percent relative humidity, and west-southwest winds of 13 mph gusting to 22. This could encourage fire growth to the east-northeast. Tuesday will be cooler with higher humidity and a 53 percent chance of about 0.04 inch of rain, conditions less conducive to fire growth than on Monday.
There will be a transfer of command today from a Type 2 Incident Management Team to a Type 1 Team (California Team 4).
After being slowed earlier by cloud cover, the Walker Fire south of Susanville, California was very active late in the day Saturday, spreading toward the northeast in two large fingers 2 and 4.5 miles long, coming to within 5 miles of US Highway 395. Spot fires occurred more than half a mile ahead. The fire grew to the north up Wheeler’s Peak drainage and east around the Antelope Fire scar. Murdock Crossing is between the two large fingers, and now has fire to the west, south, and east. At 7:35 p.m. Saturday the fire was one mile south of Antelope Lake.
A mapping flight at 7:35 p.m. MDT Saturday found that the fire had burned 38,049 acres. It is 15 miles northeast of Quincy and 17 miles south of Susanville.
The Incident Management Team reports that during the period of reduced fire activity firefighters made progress on the south side, assisted by Very Large Air Tankers, water-scooping air tankers, conventional large air tankers, and dozers.
Resources assigned to the fire include 11 hand crews, 46 fire engines, and 6 helicopters for a total of 535 personnel.
A mapping flight Friday night showed that the Walker Fire in Northern California had grown to 24,040 acres, an increase of about 6,000 acres since the last reported size of 17,912. The fire spread approximately 4 miles to the north and 6 miles to the east since noon on September 6. (see map above)
The fire is 15 miles northeast of Quincy and 21 miles south of Susanville.
The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office ordered mandatory evacuations for the Genesee Valley road corridor, the Ward Creek area, and the Flournoy Bridge area (through CodeRED).
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.