Tuesday, June 14, 2011

And the Fire Burns On

The meterologist at today's fire briefing said that winds will again blow today at 20-25 mph, creating squirrelly conditions in some of the canyons, especially in West Turkey Creek and Pinery. Heat is increasing and will be over 90ยบ today, with extremely low relative humidity of 3-5%.

Horseshoe Two Fire map at June 14 briefing

The fire may be pushed further south in the southwest corner (section B). As extreme conditions continue, with record ERC values of 110-112 and 1000-hour fuels burning in the single digits, extreme behavior can continue, and the fire lines continue to be very dangerous to work. In the northern division PP, fire crews expect to see independent torching of trees and groups of trees, but no significant runs, unless winds again gust unexpectedly.

In one bright bit of news, the burnout on the west has been carried to the perimeter in division DD. After a hard-fought effort, crews managed to contain it there. Mop-up work remains to insure that there are no troublesome flare-ups.

Detail of fire map showing finished burnout in DD
and progress in Chiricahua National Monument

In Chiricahua National Monument, a slow prescription burn continues, ignited from the ridges. From the heights, it burns slowly down, creating a burn of much lower intensity. Fire is in lower Rhyolite Canyon. The difference between this type of fire management and uncontrolled fire is graphically illustrated by the difference between the post-fire condition of South Fork (where low-intensity burning was achieved) and the Rustler Park-Barfoot Park-Onion Saddle area (which was mostly cremated in a huge, uncontrolled, high-intensity run). As horrific as the amount of burning appears on the fire map, and as huge as the area covered is, much of that which was backburned is low to medium intensity. Soils there will be in better shape, and recovery should be faster.

One of the inciweb photos shows a Yellow-eyed Junco alive and well in the ashes of Rustler Park.

Some news of the Monument Fire was announced. They are hoping for a containment date of June 18. I'm guessing that control has been easier there because, unlike the Horseshoe Two fire, it started in the low country instead of up high, and so was more manageable at the very start. Time––and wind––will tell.

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