October 17, 2019 (10 a.m.)
Special notes: A Red Flag Warning is in effect from 10 am to 10 pm. Fuels are historically dry, with a high probability of igniting quickly and intensely. Firefighters have been briefed to be prepared for aggressive fire behavior, and reminded to “Stay focused and watch out for snags” (snags are dead, standing trees and other hazard trees that can be a safety threat to firefighters). In Salida and Howard, smoke may periodically reach levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups. Suppression repair work continues in Divisions A/X/R. Fire vehicles are backhauling equipment and structure protection continues in many areas. Please drive carefully in neighborhoods near the fire area.
Weather: Winds will pickup mid-morning, increasing throughout the day, with gusts to 45 mph. The high pressure system moving into the area will also force winds downslope and accelerate warming and drying. Max temperatures will range from 62-66 degrees over the fire, and minimum RH levels will be 8-12%.
Current Situation: In Division A/X yesterday, active fire continued backing down to the south, throwing up a lot of smoke. It is still within the control features for that area. Aerial operations provided a steady stream of helicopter bucket drops of water to cool it down. More bucket drops will be delivered today, when or as conditions allow. Farther north near Methodist Mountain, helicopters dropped water on several spot fires that continue to pop up along the edge of the fireline. Fire managers are monitoring the area, and considering other tactics to keep the line secure. Dry, fallen aspen leaves continue to spread fire in the area. Today, firefighters will continue to hold the line, and monitor for spot fires.
On the north end of Division R yesterday, there was an increase in fuels burning within the fire perimeter due to dry conditions. Helicopter crews delivered bucket drops to cool them down. Air resources also cooled fire activity near the “minimal risk, limited action” brown line on the west edge of the fire. Also yesterday, crews continued suppression repair along established fireline to the north. Suppression repair is a series of actions taken to repair damages and minimize environmental impacts resulting from fire suppression activities. Today firefighters will be on patrol, monitoring fire activity.
In Division T, Firefighters established containment line around the eastern corner of the “Rock Finger” section of fire. This new line is the result of a multi-day direct attack on the fire, and a burn operation that removed fuels adjacent to the new line. That line will be tested today by the Red Flag conditions. Firefighters will be watch for spot fires, mop up and hold the line.
Fire along Muddy Creek in Division W showed increased heat yesterday. Helicopters hit the fire with bucket drops to help quiet that activity. Work continued on new primary control and contingency line between the Wilderness boundary and Howard. Today, crews will clear out and chip brush along the line.
In Division Y helicopters continued to drop water on the spot fire in the southeast. That fire is in a high, remote area and surrounded by rock on three sides. Division crews also made progress with work on a section of the new contingency and control line located in their division. These efforts will continue today.
Structure protection crews today will be embedded in the Bear Creek neighborhood, protecting structures from potential spot fires. In the Howard area, crews are installing equipment such as hoses, pumps, and sprinkler kits based on the potential fire risk. 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.
Location: Fire started 9 miles south of, and is now burning 2 miles south of Salida, CO Start Date: September 8, 2019
Size: 8,570 acres Percent Contained: 30
Total Personnel: 889 Cause: Lightning
Resources Include: 8 Type-1 hand crews, 15 Type-2 hand crews, 36 engines, 4 dozers, 12 water tenders, 2 masticators
Air Resources: 4 Type-1 (K-MAX, Blackhawk, Chinook), 1 Type-2, and 2 Type 3, and 2 fixed-wing aircraft