Smoke has been visible from the Fork Fire as firefighters fire out dead and downed fuels. Firing operations have been initiated in the late afternoon so that overnight the cooler temperatures and higher humidity will maintain lower fire intensity as fuels burn off. Thirty acres have burned on the fire located in the South Warner Wilderness along the Middle Fork Parker Creek (T 41 N R 15 E Sec. 4).
Tactics to control the intensity of fire are being used with the objective of burning off surface fuels and some of the younger white fir trees which have encroached into areas where they would not naturally occur in such abundance. In the absence of fire, white fir will out-compete the fire-adapted ponderosa pine trees and crowd out stands of aspen. Also, white fir become what firefighters refer to as “ladder fuels”, referring to the ability to carry fire from the ground up into the canopy of the large pine trees.
Over time the amount of heavy downed fuels on the ground, along with the proliferation of white fir trees has greatly increased the amount of fuel available to wildfire. This large quantity of fuel could increase the intensity of a fast moving fire and cause severe damage to the soils, trees, and watershed. Ultimately, one goal is to provide a discontinuous fuel bed which will result in less chance of intense canopy fire and healthier trees.
Lightning ignited the fire late in the afternoon of August 30. It will ultimately be completely suppressed.