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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Highline Fire Update - August 26


Location: The Highline Fire and the Goat Fire are both burning on the Payette National Forest, Krassel Ranger District, entirely within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (https://tinyurl.com/y8qomgpm), approximately four miles north of Chamberlain Basin.
Date of Origin: July 28, 21017 @ 7:00 p.m.
Cause: Started by lightning
Current Size: Highline Fire: 27,533 acres / Goat Fire: 47 Acres
Percent Containment: The Highline and Goat Fires have no current containment. They are lightning-caused, natural fires burning in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Firefighters are conducting point protection which is a wildfire response strategy that protects specific assets or highly valued resources from the wildfire without directly halting the continued spread of the wildfire. Points or zones being protected may be communities, individual structures, areas of high resource value, etc. Continued wildfire spread may be desirable in order to achieve management objectives or may be inevitable due to extreme burning conditions, safety concerns to firefighter risk and exposure, remote, inaccessible terrain, or other limitations.
Current SituationFire behavior is beginning to increase again after a few days of cloudy and cooler conditions. Yesterday the fire was again most active on the southern half of the incident. On the western perimeter, the fire is actively backing into a west wind in the areas of Game, Flossie, Chamberlain and Lodgepole Creeks. Fuels in this area are predominantly heavy dead and down with a moderate amount of regeneration. The fire remains active on the far southeastern tip and continues to burn in and around the Wapiti Creek drainage. On the western perimeter, the fire continues to work itself to the east in the McCalla, Chamberlain and Deer Creek drainages. This side of the fire continues to be shaded by a heavy layer of smoke. The northern half of the incident remains relatively inactive with areas of heat where the fire is creeping and burning in the heavy accumulation of dead and down fuels. With conditions becoming much warmer and dryer this weekend fire behavior will continue to pick up. If wind speeds and the Haines Index continue to rise, then the Highline Fire will see conditions in place for some very active fire behavior by Sunday and Monday. Firefighters continue to patrol the Chamberlain area. Point protection is established at Root Ranch and firefighters are monitoring the fire’s progression. A firing plan and hose lays are in place in the event that the fire threatens the structures at the ranch. At Cold Meadows, a point protection assessment is completed and firefighters and equipment are in place in the event it is needed to protect the site. They will begin setting up hose lays and filling portable water tanks around the guard station. Lower Chamberlain Bridge is under a passive protection plan via a gravity sock and 3/4 inch nozzles set up misting the bridge and adjacent fuels. The Highline Strategic Long-term Plan is being expanded to include Values at Risk in the Salmon River Corridor from Corn Creek to Lantz Bar in the event the Goat Fire becomes more active. Firefighters will begin initiating point protection for the Values at Risk on the Salmon River. Management Action Point have also been established for the Goat Fire planning area. Stonebraker remains in patrol status and monitored by aerial patrol.
Fire Management Strategy: The Payette National Forest has selected a monitor/point protection fire management strategy as the fire is burning within the wilderness, started naturally by lightning and burning in the right place, at the right time, with the right resources. This approach allows the Highline Fire to play its natural ecological role in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to the greatest extent possible while protecting the known values at risk and providing for firefighter and public safety. Suppression actions will be taken where lightning fires pose serious threats to life and/or property within wilderness or to life, property or natural resources outside of wilderness. Monitoring and point protection will continue to be the course of action and point protection will be implemented for values at risk should they become threatened.
Fire Resources Assigned: Fire crews that are on scene include the Snake River Interagency Hotshot crew and the Boise Type 2 Initial Attack crew. Both crews and miscellaneous overhead are spiked-out (24-hours on-scene because of the remote nature of the fire location in the wilderness) at the Chamberlain Guard Station, Cold Meadows Guard Station and Root Ranch. Crews are conducting point protection and burnout operations if necessary at these locations in order to protect the Chamberlain Airstrip, Chamberlain and Cold Meadows Guard Stations, and Root Ranch structures and facilities. In addition, there is also fireline leadership and paramedics with the crews. Crews are being supported (food, water, equipment, supplies) with the Wasatch Helitack Type 3 helicopter and crew and fixed wing aircraft. Total of 86 personnel including crews and miscellaneous overhead are assigned. An Incident Command Post has been setup in McCall to coordinate fire response and support needs for the Highline and Goat Fires.
Structures Threatened - Values at Risk: Chamberlain Guard Station, Root Ranch, Cold Meadows Guard Station, Arctic Point Lookout, Lower Chamberlain Bridge, Butts Point Lookout, Rabbit Rock Lookout, value along the Salmon Rover corridor and heritage and natural resource values within the Wilderness. Point protection at Chamberlain Guard Station, Stonebraker Ranch and Root Ranch has been successful in safe guarding and protecting structures and will continue to be the strategy for protecting values at risk. Historic structures at Stonebraker Ranch includes: one residence, three cabins, one bath house, four sheds, one historic barn and an airstrip. Historic structures at Chamberlain GS includes: seven cabins, four outbuildings and a public airstrip. Root Ranch is a private inholding with 12 structures including: the main cabin, sleeping quarters, cookhouse building, airstrip, and various outbuildings. Cold Meadows GS has five administrative buildings at the site. No buildings or structures have been destroyed or damaged by the fire.
Fuels/Terrain: Fire is burning in a patchwork of mixed conifer stands, both within and outside of old fire scars. Timber types are a mixture of Lodgepole pine/subalpine fir at higher elevations and ponderosa pine on lower or more exposed southern/western aspects. Most of the area within and around the fire area has previously been burned. This has resulted in a significant amount of dead and down fuels. Regeneration of timber has been ongoing. Therefore, fuels vary dramatically from site to site. Expect areas of unburned timber intermixed with areas of dead/down fuel beds some of which are overtopped with regeneration. The general area is composed of rolling topography bisected with deeper drainages and lots of wetter riparian seeps springs and meadows.
Injuries: None
Closures: The Chamberlain Airstrip is closed due to fire activity. A Forest Area Closure Order is also in effect for the Highline Fire area. For more information on the Highline Fire Area Closure Order, go to: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/5500/39004/. For a map of the Highline Fire Area Closure, go to:https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/map/5500/0/70607/.
Fire Restrictions: The Payette National Forest is under STAGE 1 FIRE RESTRICTIONSClick this link for designated sites where campfires are allowed. If a site is not signed as being a designated site, then campfires are not allowed at that site.
For More Information: Follow the Payette National Forest on Twitter at @Payette Forest, and on Facebook at U.S. Forest Service – Payette National Forest. Subscribe to email updates via GovDelivery at https://goo.gl/R2fDJr. If you have a question, please email us at payettefireinformation@gmail.com. Visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5500/ for more information on the Highline and other fires throughout the nation and www.idahofireinfo.comfor information on fires throughout the state of Idaho.
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