Jul 252007

Just thought I’d drop a blog in, that illustrates how this fare has spread since I’ve been here. I think I’m bad luck…

I’m not sure of the exact acreage growth, as we’ve handed off a large fire since I’ve gotten here…but you can see for yourself that the West Fork Fire has gotten A LOT larger:

Jul 252007

Here are some new photos. I never had a chance to get out on the fire, before things got tame…so I’ll have to rely on photos from the FBAN and IMET that were taken a few days ago :(. Maybe next fire. Today’s my last work day. I’ll be leaving tomorrow morning.

A small flame front on the West Fork Fire.

Also from the West Fork Fire.

Retardant drop.

One big concern of the team, in the conservation of historic landmarks during the fire fighting. This is a photo of a portion of the California Trail (read about it on Wikipedia)…which runs through the northern portions of the South Fork Fire. I was told, that those are still the wagon train ruts. The trail was used from the early 1840’s into the 1860’s by gold-seekers and farmers on their way to Cali.

This photo is from a large area “in the black” (burned).
Jul 242007

Things are slowing on the fire after a day of wet and cloudy conditions. Our complex was split from two to one fire. So, the Winecup Complex now only includes the West Fork Fire. Some convection on the east side of the fire required some quick weather advisories for the guys ou on the fire…but other than that, things were pretty slow today.

Here’s a snapshot Makoto took of me doing the evening briefing tonight. Note how I strategically conceal my greasy hair under a ball cap. Clever monkey.

Jul 232007

The Winecup Complex is now 192,738 acres…and grew 112,990 acres in just 24-hours.

Managed to get one of the GIS guys to snap a photo of us fire weather and behavior guys:

From left to right: Me, Tyler – the Fire Behavior Analyst, Makoto – the IMET (my trainer).

Also…just in case the was any doubt that I get super greasy out here on the fire…

Jul 222007

Previous or Next Winecup entry.

Our complex is now the #1 fire in the nation – as far as importance is ranked in the National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report. This is mostly because of the perceived threat to Jackpot, NV and surrounding ranches. From the report:

Winecup Complex (nine fires), Elko Field Office, BLM. IMT 1 (Broyles). Six miles west of Jackpot, NV. Brush and
grass. Extreme plume-dominated fire behavior. Ranches, structures and utility infrastructures threatened.

According to folks here…that distance from Jackpot is much smaller… Not sure why there is a discrepancy.

It is the 5th largest, purely by size – now at 79,748 acres. It was only 16,617 acres as of Thursday morning.

There as been some very extreme fire behavior. Yesterday’s plume was an example. One of the division leaders out on the fire yesterday, saw one valley in which about 100 acres was burned in less than one minute. Wow. Flame fronts were moving >20mph in spots.

Jul 212007

Alright…now THIS is a plume. This just popped on the Scott Creek Fire (not the one closest to camp). I took both of these photos from near the building I’m working in:

Oh, and I thought this was kinda cool:

The two reflectivity areas I’ve circled on the Pocatello, ID radar – are from our smoke plumes. 😮
See their live radar loop here.

Jul 212007

Here are some new photos.

It seemed like there were fires everywhere along I-80 from Salt Lake City, UT into Nevada. Here was a fairly large fire very near the highway.

On my way to camp, I took Interstate 80 from Salt Lake City, UT into Nevada. There’s allot of salt along that road. I passed within a few miles of the Bonneville Salt Flat, near the UT/NV state line. I snapped this photo from my car.

I took highway 93 north from Interstate 80, to get to Jackpot, NV – where camp is. This is a photo of the fire nearest our camp, as I was coming up on Jackpot. An alright plume of smoke, to be sure. You can see the pyro-cumulus forming on top of the column. This was my first time seeing that. Yippee.

There are two main fires on this complex (and several smaller): the Scott Creek Fire, and the West Fork Fire. The Scott Creek Fire is just to our west and Southwest. Smoke from the fire is what is seen in the photo. It’s still early, so the smoke column isn’t quite fully developed yet. There has been a little bit of concern about protecting structures here in Jackpot as SW flow continues to be pretty strong today. The firefighters have built a fire line on the ridge adjacent to us (the one in the photo), to try and halt any spread this way. The fires within about 3 miles of camp now. Winds die down considerable tomorrow…so any threat of that kind should subside.

Finally, this is just a photo of one of the choppers that drops retardant on the fire lines. The heliport is right next to us.

Jul 192007

Next Winecup entry.


It’s been a while, but my next IMET (what is an IMET?) Trainee dispatch (go here for info on my last one) has finally come around. I got the call this morning. I leave tomorrow morning at 805 AM MDT. I’ll be going to a fire complex called the Winecup (or “Wine Cup”, depending on where you look) Complex. It’s in far northeast Nevada – near the small gambling town of Jackpot, NV (Jackpot tourism).

It’s a green dot containing a golf course, and gambling resorts in the middle of a whole lot of nothing (check it out on Google Maps) one mile south of the Idaho border. I’ve only been to Nevada once…on a connecting flight to somewhere else. So, that’s kinda neat.

The fire itself is not terribly big. As of this morning’s national situation report (link to the latest) from the National Interagency Fire Center, the Winecup Fire is 16,617 acres, and consists of 11 separate fires. Despite it’s relatively small size, it’s currently the 5th biggest fire in the nation, and has the following description in the report:

Extreme fire behavior. Multiple communities, highways, railroads, radio towers and power lines threatened.

Ohhhh… Here’s the active fire map for the area I’ll be in.

I’ll only be gone 7 days for this dispatch, but that will be enough to get me signed-off and officially certified as an IMET!