Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Granite Gulch Fire moving according to plan

Joseph, Ore.-August 28, 2019-Tuesday, fire managers reviewed the Granite Gulch Fire implementation plan and fire behavior modeling to ensure they are prepared for a storm front expected to move in Wednesday and Thursday.

"The incoming hot, dry and windy weather will result in some uphill runs towards the ridge top and potentially a visible smoke column on the east side," Incident Commander Adam Wing said. "We expect to see single and group tree torching in the coming days, but the fuels along the east flank become more sparse the further the fire progresses up the Minam valley."

Fire modeling shows the potential for some smoke haze in the mornings that should disperse relatively quickly. 

On the Minam side, the fire is stalled in an avalanche chute for the past four days.  As it backs downslope later this week, there is potential for it to make a run, but that run would slow quickly when the fire reaches the burned area from the Last Chance Fire of 2010.

To the west, the fire has moved onto the ridgetop separating Last Chance Creek from the Minam River, where it is expected to continue burning toward the east and back down into the drainage.  "Backing" means the fire is pushing against topography, wind, or both.  It moves much more slowly and burns at a lower intensity.

"If all goes as expected, the increased winds should help the fire continue to meet the resource benefit objectives," Incident Commander Adam Wing siad.

Firefighters on the perimeter have the resouces they need for initial attack if dry lightning ignites a new fire near by, aerial backup is readily available to drop water and/or retardant, and additional ground support would be dispatched immediately.  The fire zone is reconnoitered by helicopter at least once a day, and pilots also make observations en route to and from water drops.

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