No new spot fires were identified which allowed firefighters to continue aggressive mop-up of control lines last night. The fire area remained quiet in the cool evening hours as crews prepared for gusty afternoon and evening winds today.
A Red Flag warning is forecasted for this afternoon with sustained winds of 15-20 miles per hour and 35 mile per hour gusts over the fire area.
Firefighters will increase patrolling and gridding of containment lines in the afternoon while continuing to deepen mop-up operations along the fire perimeter.
Because conditions were favorable for low intensity burns, firefighters took the opportunity to continue firing operations off of roads in the interior of the fire area.
These actions ensure that fire inside the containment lines will not begin to move quickly and create a high intensity burn when pushed by afternoon winds.
Progress continues on the western flank of the fire with crews of Hotshots slowly and methodically securing control lines around the fire with the assistance of aerial resources. Infra-red mapping is still being utilized to identify areas of heat around the fire perimeter so resources can be sent to contain and mop-up hot spots.
Additionally, a new fire line division has been formed to repair and rehabilitate ground that was disturbed during fire suppression operations. This process will include a team of specialists called a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team addressing soil stabilization issues to reduce post-fire erosion.
The US Forest Service will also evaluate the dead and dying trees in the burn area for potential harvesting to contribute to society’s need for wood products, as well as provide for increased employment opportunities.
Decision makers will also identify some portions of the burned areas that will intentionally be left to recover naturally to provide habitat for a variety of wildlife and plant species, and to recognize the role that fire plays in a functioning ecosystem.
Smoke: Smoke will continue to be present in the fire area and surrounding communities. With several large fires in the area contributing to lower air quality, residents can experience eye irritation, respiratory issues and aggravated heart and lung health problems. These can impact children and older adults more severely. Residents are encouraged to get more information on air quality in their area by visiting: http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_state&stateid=5&tab=0
Evacuations and Closures: No changes have occurred to evacuations at this time. The Plumas County Sheriff’s Department continues to enforce Mandatory Evacuations for the communities of Canyon Dam and the Big Meadows area. A Voluntary Evacuation is in place for Rush Creek, and an Advisory is in effect for Prattville residents for the potential threat of the fire to the area.
Chips Fire, Plumas County