October 16, 2019 (10 a.m.)
Location: Fire started 9 miles south of, and is now burning 2 miles south of Salida, CO Start Date: September 8, 2019
Size: 8,464 acres Percent Contained: 30
Total Personnel: 806 Cause: Lightning
Resources Include: 8 Type-1 hand crews, 13 Type-2 hand crews, 32 engines, 4 dozers, 101water tenders, 2 masticators
Air Resources: 4 Type-1 (K-MAX, Blackhawk, Chinook), 1 Type-2, and 2 Type 3, and 2 fixed-wing aircraft
Special notes: Extremely dry, windy conditions will return to the fire area today. A Red Flag Warning goes into effect from 1 pm to 8 pm. Fuels are very receptive to ignition. Please drive carefully in the neighborhoods near the fire area. Suppression repair work continues in Divisions A/X/R. Fire vehicles and personnel are backhauling equipment and structure protection continues in many areas.
Weather: Humidity levels over parts of the fire will drop to the single digits today. Skies will be mostly clear with areas of smoke. Winds this afternoon will increase in the afternoon to 10-15 mph coming out of the west-southwest, gusting to 30 mph. On the east side of the fire, Winds will be erratic as they eddy around the ridges. Max temperatures will range from 62-66 mph across the fire.
Current Situation: Yesterday, in Division A/X, aerial operations delivered several bucket drops of water to cool fire that has been slowly backing into the old Ox Cart fire burn scar to the south. The growth has been fueled by fallen aspen leaves. On the west side, bucket drops were used to put out spot fires in the area where fire crossed the line on Sunday in the Methodist Mountain area. Both areas will be monitored today and suppression actions will be taken, as needed when or as conditions allow.
In Division R yesterday, helicopters dropped water onto several small fires burning within the secured fire perimeter on the north side. Those fires are mostly fueled by snags, and dead/down trees. Also yesterday, crews completed the backhaul of structure protection equipment in the Boot Hill neighborhood. Today, firefighters will patrol, secure line, mop-up and backhaul equipment no longer needed. Also today, a dozer will help improve CR 108, which provides key access to utility companies needing to repair and maintain equipment stationed on Methodist Mountain.
In Division T, Firefighters on the ground made excellent progress securing the direct line along the eastern edge of the fire, including two sections that crossed over the Rainbow Trail on Sunday. Air Ops supported the effort with a steady stream of Helicopter bucket drops. Crews have also laid out “plumbing” (portable hose, pumps and portable tanks) along the line. That new growth is split into two fingers, named the “Columbine Thumb” and “Rock Finger.” Firefighters started a burn operation last night to remove fuels from a large area on the east side of the Rainbow Trail. That operation continues today.
In Division W, crews completed construction of the primary control and contingency line between the Wilderness boundary and Howard. A contingency line just west of Howard has also been completed. The spot fire that has been burning on the active fire along Muddy Creek was hit with water drops from helicopters yesterday. If conditions are favorable, more water drops will take place, to keep this stretch from expanding.
Division Y has been established on the far southeast side and will be monitoring the spot fire that is surrounded by rock on three sides. Dozers will build indirect line using existing roads from Howard Creek Road south to the Hunts Lake Trailhead. Chippers will be utilized to disperse brush removed along the line.
Structure protection is actively going after hot spots near structures in Bear Creek. Crews will continue structure assessment plans for the east side of Howard. Night operations continues to monitor the fire as they hold and secure fireline.
Closures and Public Safety: There are road closures in Chaffee, Fremont and Saguache County. Please respect closures. San Isabel Forest closures: https://tinyurl.com/SanIsabelClosures. Rio Grande Forest closures: https://tinyurl.com/RioGrandeClosures. BLM closures: Facebook @BLMColoradoFire and https://tinyurl.com/BLMCLosure. For evacuation information, please contact the Chaffee County Sherriff’s Office: 719-539-2596, or Fremont County Emergency Management: 719-276-7416, 719-276-7418 or go to the Chaffee County Sheriff or Fremont County Sheriff Facebook pages and websites.