Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Lightning starts new fires but didn’t push Blanket Creek

Thunderstorms moving southwest across the Blanket Creek Fire Monday afternoon dropped up to ¼ inch of rain on some of the fire area, which temporarily increased humidity.  Even with slight wetting, the large woody fuels are still extremely dry.  The outskirts of the thunder cells released lightning and strong, erratic wind gusts. 

As the Incident Meteorologist announced over the radio that cells were approaching, each Division affirmed they were aware.  Firefighters took shelter in safe locations, resuming work when the threat passed.  Some precipitation fell on the lower parts of the fire, but none on the higher areas.  There were no changes in fire size due to the storms.

Thirteen new fires started on the High Cascades Ranger District of the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest and at least five started on Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) protected land in this area.  A fire at Flounce Rock, across Lost Creek Lake from the Incident Command Post, quickly grew to 250 acres.  Two Type 1 heavy helicopters from the Blanket Creek Fire assisted in that response.      

Within our own fire boundaries, the Blanket Creek Fire is 4,739 acres and 36% contained.  Crews are making progress working their way down the ridge, securing the fire that’s located in Lick Creek.  Spot fires continue to be detected, quieted with bucket drops of water, and lined.  The area requires focused attention, and the safe slow work of installing handline and hoselays through varying fuels and steep complex terrain takes time.  Managers are not retreating to the larger alternate plan for indirect fireline along the 6215 Ginko Road system at this time, but these contingency lines continue to be prepared if needed.

Crews continue to seek a safe route to contain the eastern edge of the fire within Crater Lake National Park.  They are avoiding dense patches of snags from the Middle Fork Fire (2008), linking up natural barriers like clearings and pumice meadows, proceeding eastward around the fire.

With clear skies, direct sun will heat and dry the fire area starting early today.  A Red Flag Warning cautions of “Abundant Lightning and Dry Fuels” from noon to 10:00 pm.  The storms are forecast to build east of the Blanket Creek Fire area and move slowly west. 

A community meeting will take place at 6:00 pm tonight at the Multi-Purpose Room of the Charter School in Prospect, Oregon.  The school is located at 160 Mill Creek Drive.  This meeting provides an opportunity for an in-person update about the fire status and future strategies.   

Fire at a Glance

Size: 4,739 acres; 36% Contained

Location: 6 miles NE of Prospect, OR

Cause: Lightning, Natural


Personnel: 791


  3 Type 1 Hotshot Crews

15 Type 2 Crews

21 Engines

11 Water Tenders

  4 Dozers

14 Falling Modules

11 Misc. Heavy Equipment


 Aircraft (shared with Spruce Lake):

  4 Type 1 heavy helicopters

  3 Type 2 medium helicopters

  2 Type 3 light helicopters


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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