West Mims Fire Evening Summary May 18, 2017
Incident: West Mims Fire Wildfire
Fire Situation and Planned Actions:
Despite persistent hot, dry conditions, the fire was minimally active today. Smoke in the fire’s interior was minimal, and no new starts were detected. Firefighters continue to progress with mop-up operations, allowing fire managers to increase containment from 31 to 40 percent today. Crews in the contingency group continue to work along the swamp’s eastern, northern, and western perimeter up to 15 miles from the fire’s northernmost point. Air operations supported firefighters primarily through reconnaissance flights.
One of the country’s two multi-mission aircraft (MMA) is assigned to the incident for a week. The MMA flies at 10,000 feet, outside the temporary flight restriction, allowing it to work simultaneously with other incident aircraft involved in fire suppression or support. On the West Mims Fire its primary function is to provide a near-real-time depiction of hotspots lingering near firelines. It can pinpoint areas of heat as small as a laptop. GIS specialists send hotspot locations to firefighters on the ground in the form of maps, which they can view on their smartphones and tablets. Firefighters also use a product that turns their smartphones and tablets into thermal imaging cameras, allowing them to locate invisible hotspots that are no longer producing smoke. The mapping products produced from the MMA’s onboard equipment allows fire managers to document in a fine-scale way their progress with mop-up operations. Today was the MMA’s first operational day on the fire.
Night operations will be fully staffed again tonight.
Tomorrow’s operational priorities remain mop up, initial attack, readiness, contingency planning, and implementation.
Weather and Expected Fire Behavior:
Temperatures in the 90s persist through out tomorrow. However, the minimum relative humidity will continue to increase. After tomorrow, more unsettled weather patterns can be expected. The sea breeze is likely to affect the fire area on Sunday, along with a northwest cold front. Rain is likely Monday, but the incident meteorologist reported that he cannot at this point give an estimate of how much.
Fire behavior continues to consist of smoldering, creeping, and reburning; however, the potential for more active fire behavior remains through tomorrow.