Thursday, August 10, 2017

Blanket Creek Fire 39% Contained - August 10

After two weeks of hot and exhausting work, firefighters have completed over 12 miles of line around the Blanket Creek Fire.  The fire is now listed as 39% contained with the remaining unlined fire edge on the eastern flank of the fire.  

Three Hotshot crews working on the spot fire in the Lick Creek drainage on the northwestern edge have completed a hand line around it to tie it back into the main body of the fire.  This was a critical piece of work to keep the fire spread north of Forest Road 6205-100 at 171 acres. Work will continue to strengthen that line in the coming days.  A contingency fireline along Forest Road 6215 will be completed to contain the fire’s spread should it escape current containment lines.  This work will also provide protection for the private land to the west during future fires in the drainage.

Hotshot crews are also working on the eastern end of the fire within Crater Lake National Park to check its spread in the Union Peak area and assess suppression opportunities as it burns within the 2008 Middle Fork Fire burn scar.  Standing snags, poor access and rugged terrain provide significant challenges for firefighters to safely engage.  This requires fire managers to match their strategy and tactics to the risks involved for the crews working in the area and the values their work will protect across the landscape.

Elsewhere on the fire the tedious, but necessary, task of mopping up hotspots near the fire line is ongoing.  Chippers are working along Forest Road 6205 to reduce the size of the fuel removed during the preparation of that road.  FR6205 was used to hold the fire as it backed down the slope to the bottom of the Red Blanket Creek drainage.

Fire behavior has moderated greatly since last week.  This week the west end of the fire has received precipitation from afternoon thunderstorms.   The resulting moisture and cooler temperatures have knocked some steam out of the fire, but it has not been enough to extinguish it.  Thunderstorms are forecast again for today.  Drier, windier conditions will prevail through the weekend.  This will enhance the chance for the fire to spread where containment lines have not been established.  

Today is the final shift for Northwest Incident Management Team 13 on the Blanket Creek Fire.  Tomorrow California Incident Management Team 3 (Mark Von Tillow, Incident Commander) will begin managing the Blanket Creek and Spruce Lake Fires.  They are also tasked with initial attack responsibility north of the Middle Fork of the Rogue River on the High Cascades Ranger District. 

Qualified firefighters working for federal, state and local agencies from across the nation are lending their skills and expertise to suppressing these complex fires. The depth and breadth of the experience and skills brought to address these tasks is a testament to the strength and effectiveness of the wildland firefighting community in Oregon and across the United States. 

Blanket Creek Fire at a Glance
Size: 4,800 acres; 39% Contained
Location: 6 miles east of Prospect, Oregon
Cause: Lightning, Natural
Personnel: 771
    1 Type 1 Hotshot Crew
  15 Type 2 Crews
  18 Engines
  14 Water tenders
    4 Dozers
  12 Falling units
4 Type 1 heavy helicopters
2 Type 2 medium helicopters
1 Type 3 light helicopter
Closures: The Blanket Creek Fire vicinity is closed.  The Closure Order and maps are on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest website and Inciweb.  Portions of the Pacific Crest Trail and other trails are closed in Crater Lake National Park.  See Maps on Inciweb.

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