Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wildfire News, August 17

Big Bar evacuated

The town of Big Bar, 20 miles west of Weaverville, California, is under a mandatory evacuation order caused by the spread of the Buckhorn fire, part of the Iron Alps fire complex. The order affects all residents north of Highway 299.

This complex, which has now blackened 102,936 acres, has been burning since June 21 and is 81% contained. Bill Molumby's incident management team that had such success on the Indians fire east of Big Sur, is assigned to the fire. A major route across the mountains in northwest California, highway 299, was closed on Saturday due to the approaching fire and burnouts near the highway.

The map below was updated at 10 p.m. on August 15.

80 homes burned on Air Force base

A 750-acre wildland fire on Travis Air Force base northeast of San Francisco destroyed 80 unoccupied houses on the grounds of the base. The structures that burned were part of a subdivision of enlisted personnel housing that was scheduled for demolition.

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Five fires in Griffith Park

Five fires burned a total of 50 acres in this urban park on the north side of Los Angeles. From the LA Times:
Park rangers called the city Fire Department shortly after 2 p.m. to report the first fire, which by then had burned about five acres of heavy brush, Davies said.

Brad Slosar, a 43-year-old volunteer at Travel Town, said he was working in the train shed about 2:10 p.m. when he noticed 20-foot-high flames on a ridge to the northwest.

"You walked out the door and you could just hear it crackling," Slosar said.

Within minutes, fire and police officials were on the scene and began evacuating busloads of tourists, many of whom had just pulled up, Slosar said.

"Everything was very orderly," he said. "It was very well done."

The Fire Department said the second blaze, on the opposite side of the ridge, and a third fire about a mile and a half east of Travel Town, were spotted by helicopters dropping water on the fires about 2:45 p.m., Davies said.

Another helicopter spotted a fourth fire about an hour later in an inaccessible canyon, Davies said.

Ground crews spotted the fifth fire about 3:47 p.m. and directed helicopters there.

Davies said firefighters from three agencies, including the Glendale and Los Angeles County fire departments, were helping to battle the blazes. In addition, four water-dropping helicopters were being used at the scene.

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