Evening Update September 12, 2012
Incident: Horsethief Canyon Wildfire
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Contact Fire Information
Firefighters on the Horsethief Canyon Fire had great success with burn-out operations on Wednesday. The plume of smoke visible in the afternoon was a result of about a 500 acre burn-out to reinforce the fireline on the west side of the fire. Heavy smoke and low visibility is possible along south Highway 26/89/191, especially in the vicinity of the Game Creek drainage, as smoke settles into the valley this evening. This inversion is expected to lift by late morning tomorrow, but drivers should be extremely cautious on their morning commute.
Both Type 1 helicopters, which are the largest ships with the greatest carrying capacity, were down for maintenance. One was down for mechanical problems and the other required repairs to the snorkel, which is the hose that is used to draw water into the helitanker. Since both helicopters were unavailable to assist firefighters, one of two national DC-10 air tankers was used for two retardant loads on the ridge above the Cache Creek drainage to help hold the line until firefighters could get in place. This aircraft known as a Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) can hold 11,000 gallons of retardant, and when a full tank is dispensed continuously the slurry can cover up to one-mile of terrain. These two loads enabled firefighters to hold the fire at bay along the ridge.
The fireline put in to date has proved to be effective and is holding strong. Crews working the northwest corner of the fire, the section closest to the town of Jackson, began mop-up operations today but that area of the fire remains moderately active. Two locations on the southern perimeter became more active late in the day. Fire retardant and water drops on Wednesday were focused on the south flank of the fire where the most significant activity occurred. Winds blew from the north and northwest today pushing the fire in the direction of areas that had already burned.
Closure Information: Residents and visitors are reminded that an area closure is in effect for Cache and Game Creeks, including trails on Snow King. The purpose of the closure is to provide for protection of forest visitors from the current fire safety hazards associated with the Horsethief Canyon Fire. Entering a closure area is prohibited by the Code of Federal Regulations and a citation along with a fine will be issued to violators.
Evacuation Information: An evacuation advisory remains in effect for residents in areas of east Jackson. At this time evacuations are voluntary only. All highways and businesses in and around Jackson remain open. Any possible evacuations will be coordinated by the Jackson Police Department with support from by Jackson Hole Fire/EMS and the Teton County Sheriff's Office. The Nixle system (http://www.nixle.com/) is being used to provide updates every two hours or more often as needed.