October 18, 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: 8,694 acres Percent Contained: 30
Total Personnel: 943 Cause: Lightning
Resources Include: 7 Type-1 hand crews, 16 Type-2 hand crews, 40 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
Special notes: Strong winds are expected over the fire today, meaning an increased risk of dead or burned trees blowing over. Firefighters have been reminded to know the hazards before entering the fire area. The Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team and Incident Commander Mark Giacoletto would like to thank the local community for the wonderful cooperation and support we’ve received over the past two weeks. A new team, Great Basin Type 1 Team 2 led by Incident Commander Tony DeMasters, has arrived. Great Basin team members will be shadowing our team today. Transfer of command will take place on Saturday.
Weather: A low pressure system will bring more cloud cover and cooler temperatures today. Increased humidity levels may lower the ignition potential of fine fuels, but strong winds with gusts to 40 mph are forecast over the fire area, elevating the fire threat. Max temperatures will range from 50-54 degrees over the fire, and minimum RH levels will be 23-27%.
Current Situation: In Division A/X yesterday, a large area of active fire near Simmons Peak continued slowly backing it’s way southward, but still within indirect line established farther to the south. Division leaders are monitoring and will order helicopter water drops to help cool the fire, as needed, when conditions allow. Along the west side, firefighters worked to secure more direct line. That effort will continue today, while other crews will perform suppression repair work along previously established fireline. Aerial operations dropped water on fire along the edge of the line near Methodist Mountain. Fire managers have been considering burn operations to remove fuel from the area, but conditions have not been favorable. They’ll continue monitoring the fire and using water drops to quiet burning activity.
In Division R yesterday, air ops dropped several buckets of water on an area burning along the “minimal risk, limited action” brown line. That fire has moved slowly across the first of two retardant lines but so far is holding within the second line. Today fire managers will monitor that area, and more bucket drops may be ordered, if conditions allow. Crews have removed their hoses, pumps and tanks from the Boot Hill neighborhood as well as CR108 and CR110. Today crews will continue suppression repair (the repair of impacts made by fire suppression activities) on fireline.
In Division T, burn operations helped eliminate more fuel in the Bear Creek drainage area. Firefighters mopped up near newly established fireline, adding additional depth to the line. Over the last two days, helicopters have made multiple trips to the area, dropping off slings carrying hoseline, pumps and portable tanks. That “plumbing” now runs down a long stretch of fireline along the east side, providing a water source to defend the line.
In Division W/Y, helicopter bucket drops helped cool fire burning along Muddy Creek. Aerial crews also delivered morning water drops onto the large spot fire on the southeast corner. Both areas showed minimal activity, and will be monitored today. Crews will also continue improvements on new primary control and contingency line between the Wilderness boundary and Howard.
Structure protection crews will remain the Bear Creek neighborhood, testing equipment to make sure it is ready, if needed. Other crews will be in the Howard area, assessing future needs. 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.