Gatlinburg Disaster: 700 Structures Lost, 13 Fatalities

Chimney Tops 2 Fire Update

Tough questions were abundant at this morning’s press conference as word fell that a thirteenth victim has been identified in the aftermath of this week’s Chimney Tops 2 fire. Fire and Emergency managers tried to dodge the press’s questions regarding whether they waited too long to evacuate residents in the Gatlinburg and surrounding areas, and whether lives were lost because of it. The truth of the situation is this fire was an anomaly. It was a first of its kind for its fire regime.

The fire creeped around in rocky areas of the steep mountains, south of Gatlinburg, for a few days and warranted fire crews to manage it with an aerial attack. An extreme wind event fanned the fire, knocked down power lines, and created ember starts and abundant spot fires equaling utter chaos. Unfortunately, it appears that with power outages and cell service down, emergency notifications were not received by all residents with disastrous implications. Door to door evacuations by the local authorities couldn’t cover the vast areas in impending danger. The rapidly spread ignited leaf litter and ground fuels from wind gusts reported as high as 87 mph, fueled by prolonged drought, (not surprisingly) from house to house.

The Southern Area Red Team in charge of the damage assessment has updated the Incident Page stating, “There have been a number of confirmed fatalities (13 reported as of this morning) and over 700 confirmed structures lost. This fire hit the communities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and surrounding areas adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park hard as they were preparing for both Christmas and the final few weeks of a bustling tourist season.” It was truly a disaster never before seen by this part of the country and only rarely seen nationwide.

Map of the Chimney Tops 2 Fire and surrounding spot fires in Sevier County, TN


Chimney Tops 2 Fire Outlook

Southern Area Red Team type-1 incident management team has command of the fire and has been focused on public safety, infrastructure, and assessing damages. The fire has not spread since early in the week after the incident area received precipitation with frontal passage Wednesday. Minimal fire behavior and smoldering is expected for the three day fire forecast.  Weather-wise, a ridge of high pressure will produce dry conditions in the fire area through Saturday before wetting rains are forecast to return late in the weekend.

14,000 people remain displaced by the fires, with almost 4000 residents still without power. Some business owners and evacuees have been escorted back into some areas but most remain under mandatory evacuation for now. Three Red Cross Shelters remain active in the area with 219 people still utilizing them. Red Cross has delivered over 10,000 meals this week in Sevier County according to their website. We’re happy to report that the organization has also received hundreds of thousands in relief donations.


Chimney Tops 2 Fire Facts
  • As of: December 2nd, 2016
  • Location: Sevier County, TN
  • Size: 17,859
  • Containment: 0%
  • Fire Behavior: Minimal fire spread and smoldering.
  • Structures Impacted: 1000 (Estimated)
  • Structures Destroyed: 700 (confirmed but expected to rise)
  • Evacuations: Are in place, 14,000 residents and visitors impacted
  • Fatalities: 13
  • Incident Page: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5112/

 

Gatlinburg Devastated by Latest Southern Appalachian Wildfire

Sevier County Fires Summary

High winds, prolonged drought, and multiple fire starts have Sevier County, Tennessee as the latest victim in this fall’s wildfire barrage on the Southern Appalachians. Two alleged arsonists have been taken into custody as a string of new fire ignitions cropped up this weekend during extreme fire conditions. The Sevier County fires exhibited extreme fire behavior across steep, rugged terrain fanned by gusty evening winds. Fire officials are scrambling to corral what’s left of the 14 reported fires that impacted a ten-mile strip near Gatlinburg.

Due to the situation, 14,000 residents and visitors have been evacuated and 2,000 are currently utilizing the three Red Cross Shelters in the county. Along with hundreds of acres of forest, hundreds of structures have been reported as lost in the hills above Gatlinburg. Initial video footage from the area shows widespread devastation.  Fire officials are worried about this evening’s weather forecast mimicking yesterday’s destructive conditions. The latest weather forecasts have potential severe weather and rain moving in with the reported winds which could help or hinder operations.

Sign burned in half near Gatlinburg, TN. Photo Credit: Mark Nagi, Tennessee Department of Transportation

Sign burned in half near Gatlinburg, TN. Photo Credit: Mark Nagi, Tennessee Department of Transportation


Gatlinburg Fires Impact Thus Far

As of 11:00 PST the latest assessment of the area is as follows:

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts: All buildings except Hughes Hall and Wild Wing survived with little damage. (More info)
Black Bear Falls: TEMA reports it was destroyed, but numerous people have contacted us to tell us that is not the case. We are working to confirm that information.
Chalet Village: Suffered damage, but not destroyed
CLIMB Works: Intact
Cobbly Knob area: About 70 homes destroyed
Cupid’s Chapel of Love: Destroyed
Dollywood: Several cabins damaged or destroyed. DreamMore resort not damaged. Dollywood park has some wind damage but no damage from fire. Park will be closed Wednesday. (More info)
Downtown Gatlinburg: Intact
Elkmont: Intact
Hillbilly Golf: Destroyed
LeConte Lodge: Intact
Little Log Wedding Chapel: Intact
Mysterious Mansion: Destroyed
Ober Gatlinburg: Intact
Park Vista hotel: Intact (More info)
Parrot Mountain: Intact
Pi Beta Phi Elementary School: Intact
Ripley’s Aquarium: Intact. Biologists at the aquarium confirm the animals are OK. (More info)
Wear’s Valley area: About 70 homes destroyed
Westgate Resort: Damaged, but not destroyed


Sources

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1j7dJNKio1QPbslWy4PDNMsQkUes&ll=35.71073212501365%2C-83.54237556637577&z=15

wbir.com

http://www.wbir.com/news/local/gatlinburg-fires-whats-damaged-destroyed-and-intact/357891924

 

Eastern Appalachian Fires Continue to Threaten

Slow Burning Wildfires Grow Larger

Many of the eastern Appalachian fires we wrote about last week continue to burn. The National Parks Service has imposed an outdoor fire ban as of Thursday, November 17th, and closed just over 60 miles of the Appalachian Trail from North Carolina to Georgia. While areas west of the mountains are receiving rain, none is forecast for the upcoming week in areas where fires are most intense. With winds continuing for the next couple days in excess of 20 mph and warmer-than-normal temperatures, the weather will not be favorable for firefighting crews struggling to increase containment.

Current Appalachian Fires in the Southeast

Appalachian Wildfires

Wildfires in Southeast United States

Updated Fire Outlook

Several fires reported on by RedZone last week have grown significantly as these dry and windy conditions continue to impact the region.

Party Rock Fire

  • Date of origin: November 5, 2016
  • Location: Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure, NC
  • Size: 7,171 acres (last week: 977 acres)
  • Containment: 36% (last week: 15%)
  • Fire Behavior: Continues growing to the north
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: WYFF4 News
Appalachian Wildfires - Party Rock Fire Perimeter

Party Rock Fire

Tellico Fire

  • Date of origin: November 3, 2016
  • Location: Almond, NC
  • Size: 13,874 acres (last week: 6,839 acres)
  • Containment: 81% (last week: 18%)
  • Fire Behavior: Minimal smoldering and creeping, nearing containment with a few areas of isolated heat
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: UPI News

Maple Springs Fire

  • Date of origin: November 4, 2016
  • Location: Lake Santeetlah, NC
  • Size: 7,788 acres (last week: 5,083 acres)
  • Containment: 51% (last week: 10%)
  • Fire Behavior: Slow spread through litter and understory
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: Incident Press Release
Appalachian Wildfires - Maple Springs Fire Perimeter

Maple Springs Fire

Boteler Fire

  • Date of origin: November 11, 2016
  • Location: Hayesville, NC
  • Size: 8,967 acres (last week: 4,767 acres)
  • Containment: 70% (last week: 12%)
  • Fire Behavior: Minimal smoldering, backing downslope with up to 2 foot flame lengths
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: Clay County Progress Local Paper
Appalachian Wildfires - Boteler Fire Perimeter

Boteler Fire

Rough Ridge Fire

  • Date of origin: October 16, 2016
  • Location: Cisco, GA
  • Size: 27,004 acres (last week: 10,336 acres)
  • Containment: 40% (last week: 20%)
  • Fire Behavior: Rough terrain continues to impede control and containment efforts.
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: Atlanta NBC11
Appalachian Wildfires - Rough Ridge Fire Perimeter

Rough Ridge Fire

Rock Mountain Fire

  • Date of origin: November 9, 2016
  • Location: Dillard, GA
  • Size: 9,382 acres (last week: 300 acres)
  • Containment: 30% (last week: 2%)
  • Fire Behavior: Anticipated spread in all directions due to elevation and leaf litter, limited spotting.
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: Atlanta NBC11
Appalachian Wildfires - Rock Mountain Fire Perimeter

Rock Mountain Fire

Late Season Wildfires Rage Across the Southeast

Wildfires and Drought

Extreme drought has turned much of the southeastern United States into a potential tinderbox. Wildfire activity in the Southeast is normally rather tame this late in the season, but current conditions have sparked dozens of new fires. Across Appalachia, 38 active wildfires have burned an estimated 37,734 acres. More than 5,000 firefighters from across the nation have been enlisted to help battle the fires and North Carolina’s governor Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency for the majority of his state’s western counties.

The normally lush Southeast has not experienced substantial rainfall in almost two months and some areas are reporting the driest measurements in over 100 years. A recent report by the Southeast Regional Climate Center indicates that nearly 40% of the region is under drought conditions. Fire danger is further exacerbated by the unseasonably warm temperatures and gusty winds which have gripped the area since early October. Although some temperature relief is expected over the next couple weeks, precipitation is forecast to be limited. Rainfall averages in most areas are well below normal and experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are concerned the drought will persist through the winter due to “La Nina“. 

Current Southeastern Wildfires

Current Wildfires in the Southeast United States. nifc.gov

Current Wildfires in the Southeast United States. nifc.gov

 

North Carolina

Multiple wildfires have been reported and fire bans are in place for 25 western counties.

Party Rock Fire

The fire is growing rapidly in steep and rugged terrain. Evacuations are in place and were expanded after the fire grew significantly during the night of November 10-11th.

  • Date of origin: 11/05/2016
  • Location: Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure, North Carolina
  • Total Personnel: 142
  • Size: 977
  • Containment: 15%
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: Citizen Times
Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure, North Carolina

Party Rock Fire – Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure, North Carolina, as seen in the RZAlert Dashboard

Tellico Fire

Arson is the suspected cause of the fire, and an investigation is underway. Evacuations are in place and further evacuations are expected as the fire continues to grow.

  • Date of origin: 11/03/2016
  • Location: Almond, North Carolina
  • Total Personnel: 137
  • Size: 6,839 acres
  • Containment: 18%
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: Smoky Mountain Times
Tellico Fire - Almond, North Carolina

Tellico Fire – Almond, North Carolina, as seen in the RZAlert Dashboard

Maple Springs Fire

The Maple Springs fire and the Avery Branch fire have merged. Crews are focused on structure protection and attempting to establish fire lines.

  • Date of origin: 11/04/2016
  • Location: Lake Santeetlah, North Carolina
  • Total Personnel: 192
  • Size: 5,083
  • Containment: 10%
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: NBC4
Maple Springs Fire - Lake Santeetlah, North Carolina

Maple Springs Fire – Lake Santeetlah, North Carolina, as seen in the RZAlert Dashboard

Boteler Fire

The Boteler fire is growing rapidly and the area is under a local red flag warning.

  • Date of origin: 11/11/2016
  • Location: Hayesville, NC
  • Total Personnel: 538
  • Size: 4,767 acres
  • Containment: 12%
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: ABC12
Boteler Fire - Hayesville, NC

Boteler Fire – Hayesville, NC, as seen in the RZAlert Dashboard 

Kentucky

Forestry officials say there are 21 active fires in Kentucky that are responsible for burning more than 17,000 acres.

Gatliff Fire

Date of origin: 11/09/2016

Location: Gatliff, Kentucky

Size: 1,223

Containment: 40%

Incident Page: Kentucky Division of Forestry

News Article: Fox News

Tennessee

At least 53 active wildfires have consumed almost 10,000 acres, as a result, the Governor has declared a state of emergency.

Flipper Bend Fire

Date of origin: 11/07/2016

Location: Signal Mountain, Tennessee

Size: 780 acres

Containment: Unknown

News Article: ABC News

Georgia

Over 84 wildfire calls have been reported since November 10th, 2016.

Rough Ridge Fire

Air Attack is attempting burning operations in order to reduce fuels. Some reports indicate the fire has grown to over 13,000 acres.

  • Date of origin: 10/16/2016
  • Location: Cisco, GA
  • Total Personnel: 227
  • Size: 10,336 acres
  • Containment: 20%
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: Atlanta Journal
Rough Ridge Fire - Cisco, Georgia

Rough Ridge Fire – Cisco, Georgia, as seen in the RZAlert Dashboard

Early November Fire Potential for SoCal, South

Every year, fire season comes to an end in the Western US as winter weather creeps in.  The northern high elevation forests soak in autumn rains and significantly lower temperatures, and the focus of fire potential subsequently shifts to only a few targeted areas.  Because of significant drought this season and persistent high winds, that focus remains on two regions in particular:  Southern California and the Southern Appalachian Mountains.


Another Offshore Event for Southern California

The seemingly year-round fire season in Southern California trudges on as fire services in the area remain at summer staffing levels.  Long term drought is constantly a factor in these areas, and periodic offshore wind events bring occasional elevation of wildfire concern. This week will mark the fourth such wind event of the fall with a Santa Ana event arriving today and lasting into Thursday, prompting a Red Flag Warning. Coastal areas from Santa Barbara through Tijuana will see significant fire potential as a result. The offshore event will particularly impact San Diego and Riverside Counties where the winds will be strongest and humidity lowest.

Southern California will see High to Severe Fire Potential on November 9th and 10th

Southern California will see High to Severe Fire Potential on November 9th and 10th


Elevated Fire Potential for Southern Appalachian Mountains

The 60 day percent of normal rainfall map (below) highlights significant rainfall deficits running from east Texas eastward to the western Carolinas. As a result, the Southern Appalachian area of the Southeastern US is in Preparedness Level 5 (PL 5) and has issued a ‘Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory’ through November 20th. The advisory warns that the areas with highest rainfall deficits have very dry surface fuels that will support significant fires in high risk fuel types when elevated or critical fire weather is present.

Critically dry fuels and rampant fire ignitions have been observed from the Florida panhandle through Alabama to the mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina. Due to the concerning conditions, fire activity is peaking in the region. There are currently 38 ongoing, uncontained large fires in the region, many with incident command teams actively suppressing or patrolling them. By December, the area’s fire activity is expected to drop back to normal levels as temperatures cool to mostly seasonal ranges. In the meantime, two more weeks of concern lie ahead.

Rainfall deficits fueling major fire activity in the Southern Appalachian Mountains & prompting PL 5 in Southern Area

Rainfall deficits fueling major fire activity in the Southern Appalachian Mountains & prompting PL 5 in Southern Area


 

Sources:

 NWS San Diego, CA

NIFC Predictive Services

Southern Fire Environment Outlook

SACC Morning Report

Junkins Fire in Custer County, Colorado

Junkins Fire Summary

The Junkins fire started early Monday morning (10/17) in the Junkins Park area of Custer County Colorado during Red Flag Warning conditions. The fire exhibited extreme fire behavior due to dry conditions and 70 mph wind gusts.  Officials moved to evacuate homes in the immediate fire path as the fire quickly burned to over 15,000 acres as of 1:30 pm today (10/18). A type-1 incident management team has been ordered and is expected to take over command of the fire tomorrow morning (10/19/2016).

Junkins Fire Perimeter Map

The Junkins Fire perimeter as of October 18, 2016

Fire Outlook

Officials expect fierce winds to continue through tonight, but the fire’s growth has slowed as firefighters focus on structure protection and building containment lines. There has been some significant progress made on the north side of the fire, and fire officials are hopeful to stop forward progress of the north front overnight. There are four air tankers, seven helicopters, and 115 firefighters on scene, with more resources on the way.

Example Fire Facts

  • As of: October 18th, 2016
  • Location: 11 miles east of Westcliffe, CO
  • Size: 15,751 acres
  • Containment: 0%
  • Fire Behavior: Rapid fire spread through conifers, aspen and grass.
  • Structures Threatened: 281 (reported)
  • Structures Destroyed: 7 (2 homes and 5 outbuildings)
  • Evacuations: 250 homes are under mandatory evacuation and 3,500 homes are in a pre-evacuation status.
  • Incident Page: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5071/
  • News Article: The Gazette

Twelve Weeks Later: Soberanes Fire 100% Contained

Soberanes Fire Recap

The Soberanes Fire in northern California has finally wound down, with officials marking the blaze at 100% contained as of Wednesday evening (10/12).  The fire ignited from an illegal campfire on July 22nd–a full twelve weeks ago–and in the first week, destroyed 57 residences and 11 outbuildings.  Luckily, no other losses have been reported since then.


How Soberanes Compares to Other Fires

The progress of the fire has been mostly stalled for weeks, with fire crews focusing on building containment lines in the troublesome and rugged terrain of the Ventana Wilderness (LPF).  Subsequently, the fire perimeter and acreage has not budged much since late September.  Collectively, the fire has topped a record $250m in suppression costs, dwarfing the previous high from 2002 of $165m (Biscuit Fire). The Soberanes Fire finished its run at 132,127 acres which is good for 17th place in California’s documented history and 6th largest ever in the Los Padres National Forest. The sheer size of the wildfire is apparent in comparison to both the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.

Soberanes Fire size comparison with SF and NYC

Soberanes Fire size comparison with NYC and SF


Soberanes Fire Facts (10/14)

  • Started: July 22nd, 2016
  • Contained: Oct 12th, 2016 (83 days)
  • Location:  Big Sur, CA
  • Size: 132,127 acres
    • 94,933 acres CA-LPF – 72%
    • 37,194 acres CALFIRE BEU – 28%
  • Containment: 100%
  • Fire Behavior: Interior smoldering with sporadic smoke possible.
  • Structures Threatened: 0
  • Structures Destroyed: 68 (57 primary, 11 outbuildings)
  • Cost to Date: $249.9+ million
  • Incident Page: Inciweb
  • News Article: KSBW News


IMT Assignments

Since the blaze began, seven different incident management teams have been assigned to the storied fire (see list below). California’s IMT2 (Mills) team is expected to see out the remaining 21% of suppression repair and continue to BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response) operations.  The full list of IMTs assigned to Soberanes:

  • CAL FIRE Team 4 IC (Derum) taking command on 07/23/2016 at 1200
  • CAL FIRE IMT (Derum) in unified command with CA IMT1 (von Tillow) on 08/05/2016
  • CA IMT1 (von Tillow) in unified command with CAL FIRE IMT (King BEU) 08/19/2016 at 0600
  • CA IMT1 (von Tillow) transferred command to AK IMT1 (Kurth) @ 0700 8/24/2016, No more unified command
  • CA IMT1 (Opliger) will transition on 09/13/2016 at 0600
  • CA IMT2 (Arroyo) assumed command of incident 09/29/2016 at 0800
  • CA IMT2 (Mills) will assume command 10/13/2016 at 0600

Sources:

Inciweb

NIFC

KSBW News

Loma Fire Burns in Santa Cruz Mountains

The Loma fire started Monday afternoon (9/26) along Loma Chiquita Road in Los Gatos, CA and quickly spread along the ridgeline to the north and east. As the fire began growing, it threatened numerous structures and radio towers along Loma Chiquita Ridge. Subsequently, homeowners began to evacuate the area before any official evacuations were put in place simply due to the extreme fire behavior that was being observed. Concern over the fire’s extreme behavior prompted the diversion of fire crews that were originally en route to the Sawmill fire.  Those crews were reassigned to become initial-attack resources on the Loma incident instead. Currently, fire officials are reporting that 7 structures were lost and 300 others are threatened by the blaze. As of midday Tuesday (9/27) the Loma Fire is 2,000 acres and 5% contained.

Loma Fire Perimeter from this morning's Flight

Loma Fire Perimeter from this morning’s IR flight


Loma Fire Outlook

The fire burned overnight and continues to spew smoke in the Santa Cruz Mountains today. The nearby Morgan Hill Webcam is showing the fire growing on the east side of the 3,700 ft. Loma Prieta Peak. As the fire moves into its second burn period, more resources are set to arrive to help contain the blaze. Fortunately, the hot and dry weather of the past few days Santa Ana influence will subside tomorrow. Coastal areas will see onshore flow return today and a cooling trend will arrive Wednesday and Thursday with a Pacific trough approaching the area. As a result, temperatures will substantially drop, RH levels will rise, and the extreme fire conditions should diminish (though strong NW winds are set to arrive). Furthermore, the forecast calls for a return to autumn-like conditions with highs in the 60s and 70s by the end of the week.

Loma Fire Facts

  • As of: 1400 PDT, September 27, 2016
  • Location: Los Gatos, CA
  • Size: 2,000 acres
  • Containment: 5%
  • Fire Behavior: Rapid fire spread through tall grass and brush in steep, rugged terrain.
  • Structures Threatened: 300 (reported)
  • Structures Destroyed: 7 (estimated)
  • Evacuations: Are in place
  • Incident Page: Cal Fire Incident Page
  • News Article: SF Chronicle
  • Live Webcam: http://www.morganhillwebcam.com/

Sources:

Weather Underground

CALFIRE

NIFC.GOV

Soberanes Fire over 100,000 acres, costs crest $200 million

Soberanes Fire Summary

The Soberanes Fire is eight weeks old today, starting way back on July 22nd. We have been closely monitoring the blaze as it has burned most of the summer. This month, the fire has well surpassed 100,000 acres and is still only 57% contained. Early on, the fire destroyed 57 residences and 11 outbuildings in Palo Colorado Canyon. Currently, there are more than 1,437 firefighters on scene fighting the blaze which is primarily in the rugged Ventana Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest (LPF). 410 structures remain threatened with evacuation warnings in effect. Full containment is not expected until September 30th. A few highlights on the fire are seen in the eight-week timeline below.

Picture2

Soberanes Fire has been burning for eight weeks and counting


Soberanes Fire Outlook

The fire has been predominantly growing south and east in the Ventana Wilderness of the LPF for the last couple weeks. Due to good work by crews and holding containment lines the fire has stayed east of Big Sur and west of Carmel Valley Road. Yet firing operations on the east side of the fire remain the main objective of late, as fire crews try to further increase containment by connecting indirect line near Chew’s Ridge in Divisions J, K, and L to the completed line north of the Los Padres Dam.  Consequently, a successful effort in the coming days will add both acreage and containment in those divisions. Furthermore, air attack activity will pick up as their resources will assist in keeping fuels adjacent to the indirect fire line from igniting.   Meanwhile, on the southern, coastal side of the fire, crews continue to work hard securing and improving the established containment lines. They have been successful holding the fire east of an established dozer line on the ridge above Big Sur.

Next week, the Soberanes fire will reach its ninth week (and on the 23rd, enter its third month). The fire has burned 65% on federal lands and 35% on state lands. Suppression costs for the entirety have soared to over $200 million with an average of $3.58 million spent each day. If the fire were fully contained today, the feds would be on the hook for over $130 million and CALFIRE for the other $70+ million. At that rate, if firefighters were to reach full containment on September 30th, the suppression cost would eclipse $250 million (not including costs from damages incurred). If they can’t connect containment lines in the near future, likely the fire will continue to burn until fall weather, rains, or cooler temperatures stall its activity.

Soberanes Fire near Big Sur, CA is now over 100,000 acres and still growing

Soberanes Fire Progression: Continues burning near Big Sur, CA and is now over 100,000 acres and growing


Soberanes Fire Facts (9/16)

  • Started: July 22nd, 2016
  • Location: Ventana Wilderness, Big Sur, CA
  • Size: 108,031 acres (70,285 acres CA-LPF; 37,194 acres CALFIRE)
  • Containment: 57%
  • Fire Behavior: Slow fire spread through timber, chaparral, and tall grass in steep, rugged terrain.
  • Structures Threatened: 410 (reported)
  • Structures Destroyed: 68 (57 primary, 11 outbuildings)
  • Evacuations: Warnings remain in place
  • Cost to Date: $200.4 million
  • Incident Page: Inciweb
  • News Article: Big Sur News

Sources:

  • Big Sur Kate
  • Inciweb
  • NIFC

Western States Wildfires Continue to March On

Many western states wildfires continue to burn at average to above-average levels for the month of August. Fire resources are currently working on 36 large fires that are actively burning 587,843 acres. California continues to be the focus of firefighting efforts as thousands of residents near many large fires remain evacuated from their homes. The Great Basin and Pacific Northwest Areas also have a lot of fire activity, but firefighters are beginning to gain the upper hand on these large burns.

Western States Wildfires Stress Resources

With resources assigned to fires across the states, initial attack resources are near or at draw down levels. This worries fire managers as they may not have enough manpower locally to contain new starts that they would normally be able to stop at full strength. Numerous fires in California are burning in inaccessible terrain with drought and beetle stricken fuels.

Unprecedented Behavior

Numerous western states wildfires are exhibiting behavior that 30- and 40-year veterans have never seen. The Bluecut Fire in particular burned over 30,000 acres in 24 hours, exhibiting similar conditions as the Sand fire in Santa Clarita. California firefighters’ concern may increase due to Santa Ana season being just around the corner.

Current Numbers at a Glance

  • Seven Type 1 Incident Management Teams are assigned.
  • Nine Type 2 Incident Management Teams are assigned.
  • 19,695 incident personnel are assigned.
  • Current active fires in the western states have destroyed 260 structures.

Western States Wildfires