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CURRENT FIRE UPDATE: And the Science of Fire

By Linda Sutter

Photo credit to Robyn Dal Porto

Photo credit to Robyn Dal Porto

Monday night’s meeting, August 24th, at the Washington Blvd. Fire house proved to be quite scientific. One would think fire, firemen, trucks, planes and water. But, that is just the beginning. With fires like this, we have our very own meteorologist, fire behavior analyst, financial analyst, incident commander, incident management teams, medical infirmary and the list continues.

Victor  Guiterrez led tonight’s meeting as the Public Relations Officer. Currently there are four fires going on. 16,187 acres have burned. There are a total of 637 personnel. Seven hand crews, eight dozers, 35 Firetrucks, two air tankers, four helicopters, and 17 water tenders. There have been 6 injuries reported, the worse injury resulted with a separation of a shoulder.

Mike Sandwick, Deputy Incident Commander, “ Our main goals and objectives is to protect property, people and environment, and to do it smartly. We are always going to consult with resource cultural advisors. This fire involves very significant ancient artifacts that we cannot simply bulldoze over. That is why it is necessary to find out what we can do and what we cannot do which requires expertise. We have had to utilize advanced techniques with this fire to minimize risks.”

The Coon Fire: The South Fork of the Smith River continues to hold as a natural barrier and fire has not crossed. Last night crews continued to burn along the ridge top containment line south of Deer Creek. On the Northwest Corner, crew will be burning from the 17NO7M road along constructed hand line down to the South Fork of the Smith River. Structure protection engines will continue to remain in place along Paradise Way and Rocky Creek Housing developments.

Bear Fire: Firefighters continue to construct approximately 15 miles of containment lines and burn along the road system to the South in preparation for future operations

Feeder Fire: Almost contained. Night shift burned along the GO road to prevent the last active sections from crossing.

Peak Fire: Remains unstaffed due to lack of resources and in the opinion of the fire analyst it will not go anywhere or become a threat, because it is in the wilderness.

Current Forest and Road Closures:

The South Fork Road off highway 199, is limited to residential and fire traffic only. The east gate of Howland Hill Road has been closed. Howland Hill Road ad attractions can still be accessed from the west, out of Crescent City.  A closure order has been issued for the Bear Basin Lookout, Island Lake Trailhead, Doe Flat Trailhead, South Kelsey Trail, Summit Trail, and the Gasquet-Orleans Road. An additional closure has been signed to include the areas around Bear Fire, Coon Fire and some adjacent areas to the GO road.

Up to date information on smoke conditions and health effects can be found on this website www.ncuaqmd.org

Warren McGrew, Liason,  gave much praise to Cindy Henderson, as well as the Del Norte Sheriff’s Department and Steve Wakefield,Fire Chief, for their commitment and dedication of services. Apparently the Pelican Bay State Prison SERT team also participated.

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