September 29, 2012 0900 Update
Incident: Cascade Creek Wildfire
More attention to mop-up and rehabilitation
Containment numbers creep upward as Cascade Creek wildfire creeps down the western flank of Mt. Adams
Trout Lake, Wash., There's a lot of work yet to accomplish, but the 15, 643-acre Cascade Creek Wildfire is now 55% contained. Calm, dry weather has provided a good opportunity to burn out an island of unburned fuel near the southwest flank. Hand crews and retardant applications are being directed to remaining hot spots in the vicinity of the Aiken Lava Bed. Contingency lines, that could be used to protect sites west of the fire if needed, have been identified and prepared should burning-out be necessary. In places where the fire has been contained, crews continue to mop-up, check 75 - 100 feet from the line for remaining heat sources, and remove extra hose and suppression equipment that is no longer needed.
Hazardous trees and snags continue to be a significant concern along roads and firelines where people are working. Dead trees can fall unpredictably. Branches with green needles may hide decayed trunks or burned roots that are no longer able to support a tree's weight. Firefighters, who are trained and frequently cautioned to avoid trees that are hazardous, have been assisted by six falling teams that continue to be busy removing dangerous tree hazards where they are needed.
As active suppression concludes in some areas, other firefighters engage in rehabilitation work. These jobs repair the impact of the fire suppression effort itself. Tasks include grading roads that were used in the operation, piling remaining slash, removing some trees burned in firing operations, and preparing excellent maps of the sites of particularly intense activity such as helispots or portable water tanks. Fire lines and newly-opened roads may need to have water bars constructed. Fences may require repair. A burned area rehabilitation team is now in place to assess long term needs for rehabilitation of the fire area.
Approximately 500 cattle are being moved from summer pastures near the fire area to a cow camp, from which they will be moved on to winter locations. The ranchers who are involved have been in close communication with fire managers who want to ensure that they can safely conduct their work, even with an active wildfire burning nearby.
There's no rain in sight and fuels are still of record dryness, but longer nights and lower sun angles have reduced the energy available to feed the fire each day. In the next few days, a weak cold front will pass through the area. It will increase humidity, but not bring rain. High temperatures will be 60 to 70 degrees. North to northwest winds will be 15-25 miles per hour on the ridges and expected to support active burning and fuel consumption in the interior of the fire. The western flank will continue to creep down the side of Mt. Adams.
There will be a public meeting on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. to provide an update on the fire situation, outlook, and strategies. It will occur in the gymnasium at Jonah Ministries, 31 Little Mountain Road, Trout Lake.
Fire Facts - Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 0900 HOURS
Fire Size: 15,643 acres
Percent Contained: 55%
Fuels: Heavy, bug-killed timber, litter and understory
Expected Containment: Not determined
Air Resources: Two of each of the following: Light, medium and heavy helicopters; two air attack platforms
Firefighting Crews: 13
Water Tenders: 14
Total Personnel: 488
Total Estimated Cost to Date: $10,633,946