Friday, August 1, 2008

Update on fires, August 1

Telegraph fire

The Telegraph fire, about 7 miles west of the El Portal entrance to Yosemite National Park, is now 34,034 acres and is 60% contained. There are 4,531 people working on the fire, including 96 hand crews and 466 engines. Hundreds of residents have been allowed to return home, while dozens more remain under mandatory evacuation.

Gunbarrel fire

UPDATE @ 1:00 p.m. MT, Aug. 1

More information is available from the fire, including an updated map and acreage: 9,560 acres:
Management Actions: More than sixty firefighters continue to clear out fuels and install firefighting sprinkler systems around lodges, cabins and other buildings above the North Fork Highway closest to the fire. Lookouts continue to monitor spread to the south. A large Sky Crane helicopter is now available to drop up to 1800 gallons of water where needed.

Staffing: Currently about 100 people are working full-time on the Gunbarrel fire. They include a management team, two hotshot crews, two crews that specialize in long-duration fires, five engines, and two helicopters.
The map was produced from an infrared imagery flight at midnight last night.

8:44 a.m. Aug. 1

The fire is 40 miles west of Cody, Wyoming and 8 miles east of Yellowstone National Park. The fire has been very active on the south side and has been mapped at 7,844 acres.

Below is a map that shows the Cascade fire near Red Lodge, Montana, the Gunbarrel fire, and the LeHardy fire in Yellowstone National Park north of Yellowstone lake.

Cascade fire

UPDATE @ 9:11 p.m. MT Aug. 1

Here is the latest map available, produced last night at midnight. We are looking west, and Red Lodge is at the bottom.


8:44 a.m. MT Aug. 1

This fire 6 miles west of Red Lodge, Montana is 9,411 acres and is 10% contained. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for low humidity and gusty southwest winds and a wind shift associated with a cold front from ten a.m. Friday through midnight.

Thursday's Activities: Firefighters suppressed numerous spots in the northeast corner and built direct line on the northwest corner of the fire. There was no significant change in acreage. They continued to secure and mop up that area of the fire. Helicopters put 86,000 gallons of water on the fire. Twenty-two loads of fire retardant were delivered by air tankers for a total of 42,000 gallons of retardant. The mobile retardant plant at the Switchback Ranch mixed 7,100 gallons of retardant for use on the fire. A generator was placed near the radio transmitters as a precaution. If there is heavy smoke or fire approaches the area, Northwest Energy will cut the power to the area, and the generator will be used to keep the transmitters in service.

Friday's Planned Activities: Crews plan to complete and secure direct line from Senia Creek Trail north to Bald Mountain. Crews will look for and mop up spots outside the line. Crews will work on completing direct handline on the northeast corner of the fire tying into the dozer line. Dozers, skidgins, and a feller buncher, a piece of logging equipment that cuts and removes trees, will be used to construct indirect line in Silver Run drainage going south and west towards the wilderness boundary. Handline on the east side of the fire from lower marsh area to Basin Creek Trail will be secured and mopped up.
Here is the weather forecast for Red Lodge. It indicates that firefighters are going to be challenged by 12% relative humidity and 11-15 mph winds out of the southeast and southwest today, shifting to the northwest after dark. The red line is temperature, the purple is wind, and the green line is relative humidity. The graph begins at 10 a.m. on Friday. The wind barbs point in the direction the wind will be FROM. Click on the image below to see a larger version.

HERE is a link to current weather conditions at the Red Lodge Mountain ski resort. The Red Lodge Mtn. weather station is out of service. Another source for a weather station is the Timber Crest station, located in the valley between the Cascade fire and Red Lodge at about the same elevation as Red Lodge. The lat/long is 45 09 25 and 109 21 38.

LeHardy fire, Yellowstone National Park

UPDATE @ 9:10 p.m. MT Aug. 1

In looking at the latest satellite imagery, it is obvious that the LeHardy fire is relative calm on the west side near the road, but has been very active on the northeast side. Here is some new information from Yellowstone National Park released at 9:00 p.m. tonight.
Warm temperatures, low humidity and afternoon winds from the southwest continue to cause the fire to develop a large smoke plume and grow to the northeast into the backcountry.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Yellowstone National Park for Noon to 9:00 p.m. Saturday. Firefighters are preparing for another day of active fire behavior and fire growth.

While an aerial reconnaissance flight was conducted late Friday afternoon, no new acreage figure will be available until Saturday. As of Friday morning, the fire was estimated at 505 acres.

The LeHardy Fire does not pose a threat to visitors. The fire is burning away from the Grand Loop Road and the Fishing Bridge area deeper into the backcountry.

UPDATE @ 1:10 MT Aug. 1
Firefighters in Yellowstone National Park have been able to contain the section of the LeHardy Fire along the west bank of the Yellowstone River. The Grand Loop Road between Fishing Bridge and Mud Volcano reopened to traffic at noon Friday.

There is a Red Flag Warning in effect for Yellowstone National Park until 8:00 p.m. A Red Flag Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when hot temperatures, gusty winds and low humidity are forecast, which could result in active fire behavior and fire growth.

An update at 8:44 a.m. Aug. 1 is HERE.

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