Fires Not Abating Out West
Wildfires in the western United States are not abating. The three large wildfires in Idaho continue to burn and many smaller fires which began as lightning strikes at the end of July or beginning of August still continue to burn.
The Mustang Complex Fire which was started by a lightning strike on the weekend of July 28-29 is currently only 9% contained and over 99,000 have been affected. Five of the fires, the Mustang, Broomtail, Roan, Cayuse and East Butte have burned together. The Lost Packer Fire continues to burn and and increase in size. The Complex is currently west of Spring Creek, north of the Salmon River, east of Lantz Bar, and south of Horse Creek, Gattin Ranch and Bronco Lake.The current estimation for containment of the fire is September 30, 2012.
The Halstead Fire also started with a lightning strike on July 27. At this point almost 96,000 acres have been affected and this fire is only 7% contained. Fire behavior was moderate today with localized surface and crown burning in heavy timber fuels. There was minor spreading into new areas outside the existing fire perimeter. Both the growth potential of the fire and the terrain in which they are fighting this fire are extreme. The projected date for containment still remains October 16, 2012.
Unlike the other two fire, the Trinity Ridge Fire's cause was human in nature. This fire started on August 3 and has currently affected over 105,000 acres. It is still only 5% contained. A cold front moving into the fire area tomorrow (Aug. 25) from the north will decrease humidity and produce gusty winds, resulting in critical fire weather, which may hamper burnout operations and aerial support. Growth potential for this fire is extreme and the terrain is difficult. The projected date for contained is October 15.
The Cache Creek Fire, which started by a lightning strik on August 20th, is locatedin the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (HCNRA) in the Cache Creek area. The fire is located in the northern HCNRA, adjacent to the Snake River on the Oregon/Washington border. The fire covers 16,000 and is currently 5% contained. Both the growth potential for the fire and the terrain being navigated to fight this fire are extreme. Currently the fire is spreading to the north, west, and south.
Waterfalls 2 Fire was started by a lightning strike on August 2nd. It is located approximately 5 miles northeast of Mt. Jefferson in Oregon, and 22 miles west of Warm Springs. The fire is burning in high elevation timber where terrain and access are making firefighting efforts difficult. Warm temperatures, low humidities, and west-southwest afternoon winds are contributing to extreme fire behavior, especially on south slopes in east-west oriented drainages. It is currently burning over 8,000 acres and is 9% contained.
This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on August 23, 2012. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner with information from the inciweb.org site