Credit: John Sangster
Rattlesnake Creek Fire
As of Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Nationally, active duty military personnel are mobilizing to serve as firefighters to assist with wildfire suppression efforts across the western United States, the National Interagency Fire Center said in a Monday news release.
“Currently, more than 127 wildfires are burning on about 1.6 million acres in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and Alaska,” NIFC reported. “The National Preparedness Level is currently at five, the highest level, indicating a high level of wildfire activity and a high level of commitment of wildfire suppression assets. Weather and fuel conditions are predicted to continue being conducive to wildfire ignitions and spread in most of the western U.S. for the next several weeks.”
A request from NIFC to the Department of Defense for 200 active duty military personnel along with command and support staff to assist with firefighting efforts was approved, and the 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash. will provide the personnel.
“Monday, Rattlesnake Creek firefighters patrolled the northern, eastern, and western containment lines, mopping up to further secure the fire edge,” the incident management team noted in its Tuesday morning, Aug. 7, report. “The southern fire edge was improved. On the southwestern portion of the fire, crews continued to reinforce the retardant and indirect handlines.”
The fire, human-caused and burning in southern Idaho County since July 23, was listed as 42 percent contained at just shy of 4,400 acres despite a spot fire reported over the weekend that presented a new threat to structures in the Hillman Basin and Boulder Creek area.
No structures have been destroyed by the fire, which sprang up near MM184 on U.S. Highway 95, but several communities remain under pre-evacuation “Be Set” notice. Authorities have advised residents in the North Pollock, Whitewater Wilderness Ranch Estates and Pinehurst areas to monitor the Facebook pages of the Idaho and Adams county sheriffs.
An area closure remains in effect and was updated Aug. 3; details are online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices.
“Today, crews will patrol and mop up along the northern, eastern, and western containment lines,” the IMT noted Tuesday morning. “Water and retardant will be used to help keep portions of the south and southwestern edge of the fire in check and the indirect handline will be strengthened. Removal and chipping of brush piles behind residences on Pines Road will continue. Crews will further assess structure protection needs in the Hillman Basin and Boulder Creek area and will place pumps and hose where needed. Construction of the contingency line south of Camp Creek will continue.”
The weather, hot and dry with temperatures in the upper 90s, is becoming more unstable every day “until Friday,” according to the IMT’s forecast.
Firefighting resources committed to the Rattlesnake Creek Fire number 482 personnel including 12 hand crews, 21 engines, 1 dozer, 9 water tenders, and 4 helicopters.