The Fork Fire, burning in a remote area of the South Warner Wilderness, has grown to 17 acres. Firefighters and resource advisors are on scene managing the Fork Fire as it slowly consumes dead and downed trees.
White fir trees have encroached into areas they would not naturally occur in such abundance due to lack of healthy wildfire. They compete with aspen and mature ponderosa pine stands and reduce the size of meadows. Firefighters are using tactics that will reduce these unnatural fuels and allow aspen stands to regenerate, but have a minimum impact on the wilderness.
The fire has grown at approximately one-half acre per day. Connected and augmented with hand line, natural barriers such as open areas, creeks and boggy meadows are being used for containment to check or slow the spread of the fire.
Other tactics such as firing out dense fuels and using hand tools to place fire line in the fire’s path have also been used to moderate fire intensity and rate of spread. Utilizing these methods ultimately benefits the Wilderness by creating more forage for wildlife, protecting native vegetation and decreasing the potential of more intense fires in the future.
Lightning ignited the fire late in the afternoon of August 30. It will ultimately be completely suppressed. There is no recent fire history near the Middle Fork Parker Creek where the fire is burning and the amount of dead and downed fuels in the area is high.
The fire has provided an opportunity to allow these dense concentrations of fuels to be consumed under much more favorable conditions. Modoc National Forest leadership is working closely with personnel on scene as the operation continues. The first consideration of all decisions made regarding the fire is firefighter and public safety, followed by impact on the wilderness character.