22 Jun 2008, 11:39pm
California
by admin

American River Complex Fires

Location: 11 mi NE of Foresthill, Placer Co., CA

Specific Location: Tahoe NF, Lat 39° 8´ 38″ Lon 120° 40´ 21″Date of Origin: 06/21/08
Cause: Lightning

Situation as of 07/31/08 7:00 AM
Total Personnel: 60
Size: 20,541 acres
Percent Contained: 100%

Costs to Date: $23,950,980

The fire is contained as of 7/30/2008 at 1800. Control will not happen until extinguished until season ending event. All divisions are in patrol status by engines.

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Situation as of 07/28/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 109
Size: 20,541 acres
Percent Contained: 95%

Costs to Date: $23,629,307

Yesterday’s 100% containment announcement premature. Portions of the NE flank of fire, primarily in Big Valley Canyon, remain uncontained.

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Situation as of 07/27/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 125
Size: 20,541 acres
Percent Contained: 100%

Costs to Date: $23,461,231

Portions of the NE flank of fire, primarily in Big Valley Canyon, remain uncontained. Uncontained fire perimeter in areas of steep and rugged terrain will continue to pose challenges until controlled or extinguished by a season ending event. Handcrews and helicopters continue to attack hotspots in Big Valley Canyon.

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Situation as of 07/25/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 114
Size: 20,541 acres
Percent Contained: 95%

Costs to Date: $23,149,675

Handcrews with helicopter support continued to attack the remaining unsecured fire permeter in difficul terrain on the NW flanks and drainage bottom of the fire in Big Valley Canyon and on the south side of the North Fork of the American River, Elsewhere, mop-up continues to target hotspots. Rehabilitation of supress impacts continue on most divisions; along with the removal and back haul on non-essential equipment. The local Type 3 organization has taken over management of the incident and continues suppression and rehab efforts.

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Situation as of 07/24/08 6:00 AM
Total Personnel: 111
Size: 20,541 acres
Percent Contained: 95%

Costs to Date: not reported

Handcrews with helicopter support continued to attack the remaining unsecured fire perimeter in difficult terrain on the NE flanks of the fire, in Big Valley Canyon and on the south side of the North Fork of the American River.

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Situation as of 07/20/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 701
Size: 20,541 acres
Percent Contained: 85%

Costs to Date: $20,400,000

Estimated Containment Date: 08/01/08

On several divisions of the fire, operational efforts have shifted from suppression to the assessment and rehabilitation of suppression-related impacts. Type 1 crews continued to construct contingency line, monitor fire activity, and use helicopters to attack hot spots in Big Valley Canyon. Type 1 crews continue efforts to contain the fire on the northeast flank where it is backing down in the North Fork of the American River drainage. Taskforce Shovel continued its second day of training on the south side of the fire. These National Guard resources are not assigned to the incident.

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Situation as of 07/18/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 762
Size: 19,992 acres
Percent Contained: 65%

Costs to Date: $18,800,000

Estimated Containment Date: 08/01/08

Suppression actions continuing on lower slopes, utilizing Type 1 crews due to difficult terrain. Successful burnout last night into early morning, with continuation planned for tonight. Under the supervision of a designated Rehab Group, rehab of interior lines and other suppression impacts is continuing. Crews built direct line on the upper slopes of the canyon. Continued mop-up, hotspotting and cold trailing to increase to security of containment lines.

Slope and terrain, combined with general winds, lead to single and group tree torching and short uphill runs in the NE portion of the fire. Over the balance of the fire area, fire behavior is minimal, limited to creeping and smoldering.

Crews will continue a burnout along the south side of the North Fork of the American River, between New York and Big Granite drainages.

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Situation as of 07/17/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 773
Size: 19,510 acres
Percent Contained: 55%

Costs to Date: $17,800,000

Estimated Containment Date: 08/01/08

Government Springs/Westville fire 18,959 acres, 55% contained.

Increased fire activity today. Rehab of interior lines is continuing. Continued scouting in the canyon bottom in preparation for increased suppression activity on the lower slopes. Crews built direct line on the upper slopes of the canyon.

Closures in place: The Euchre Bar, American Eagle, Italian Bar, and Beacroft Trail (from the trailhead to the North Fork of the American River), and the American River Trail (east of the Mumford Bar Trail toward the Sailor Flat Trail), Mumford Bar Trailhead Campground and Mumford Bar Trail are closed. In addition, Texas Hill Road from Fulda Creek to Junction of Forest Road No. 38 is closed. Tunnel Mills, North Fork, and Onion Valley Campgrounds are closed due to the 19 Road closure. Foresthill Divide Road from China Wall OHV Area to Duncan Y; Robinson Flat east of Soda Springs road; and Sugar Pine Boat Ramp.

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Situation as of 07/16/08 5:00 PM
Total Personnel: 831
Size: 19,322 acres
Percent Contained: 55%

Costs to Date: $17,000,000

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Situation as of 07/15/08 9:00 AM
Total Personnel: 925
Size: 18,799 acres
Percent Contained: 40%

Costs to Date: $14,700,000

Smoke from fire, reducing to haze, now affecting communities east into Truckee, CA and Reno, NV. Southeast flank of fire remains uncontained, with potential to spread unimpeded east, southeast and north. The potential exists for re-establishment of less favorable conditions later in the week. Effectiveness of suppression actions taken now may be higher than later in the week. Failure to hold in critical areas will lead to a substantially increase in fire size.

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Situation as of 07/13/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 905
Size: 18,721 acres
Percent Contained: 30%

Costs to Date: $13,700,000

Transition in fire management is delaying updates in acreage, but expect better information this evening.

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Situation as of 07/12/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 922
Size: 18,721 acres
Percent Contained: 25%

Costs to Date: not reported, est. $12.4 million

Expected Containment Date has been changed from 10/01/08 to 08/01/08.

Government Springs Fire and Westville fires are merged for a combination of 18,113 acres with 15% containment.

Muir’s Type 1 Incident Management Team has assumed command of the fire.

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Situation as of 07/11/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 884
Size: 18,019 acres
Percent Contained: 20%

Costs to Date: $11,400,000

Closures in Place: The Euchre Bar, American Eagle, Italian Bar, and Beacroft Trail (from the trailhead to the North Fork of the American River), and the American River Trail (east of the Mumford Bar Trail toward the Sailor Flat Trail), Mumford Bar Trailhead Campground and Mumford Bar Trail are closed. In addition, Texas Hill Road from Fulda Creek to Junction of Forest Road No. 38 is closed. Tunnel Mills, North Fork, and Onion Valley Campgrounds are closed due to the 19 Road closure. Foresthill Divide Road from China Wall OHV Area to Duncan Y; Robinson Flat east of Soda Springs road; and Sugar Pine Boat Ramp.

Government Springs Fire and Westville fires are merged for a combination of 17,467 acres with 10% containment.

Inversion held throughout the day moderating fire behavior. Tahoe and Lakeview IHCs completed line from Sawtooth Ridge into N. Fork American River Canyon to tie in perimeter on the river. Handline construction from Humbug ridge will tie in soutwest/west flanks of fire. Crews were able to hold line along Foresthill road and where fire crossed dozer line on Humbug Ridge.

Smoke from CA fires reported in Aspen Co today.

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Situation as of 07/08/08 11:00 PM
Total Personnel: 760
Size: 10,211 acres
Percent Contained: 20%

Costs to Date: $8,100,000

Expected Containment: 10/01/08

Active fire on three flanks is challenging resources in places to reach control objectives safely. Staffing strategies are developed to ensure focus on areas with highest values at risk. Will staff highest priority areas fully, and may remove firefighters from low priority areas. Fire on those flanks will spread unimpeded pending additional resources. Up to 1/3 of suppression resources time out by Thursday, with difficulties to find replacements.

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Situation as of 07/06/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 733
Size: 8,438 acres
Percent Contained: 20%

Costs to Date: $6,400,000

Structures Destroyed to date: 2 residences

Short active crown runs with short range spotting along Sawtooth Ridge on Government Springs fire with persistent surface fire backing into drainages. Westville fire- active midslope fire with spotting up to 1/2 mile occurred in canyon to the east, fire continues to push against Foresthill Divide road.

Closures in Place: The Euchre Bar, American Eagle, Italian Bar, and Beacroft Trail (from the trailhead to the North Fork of the American River), and the American River Trail (east of the Mumford Bar Trail toward the Sailor Flat Trail), Mumford Bar Trailhead Campground and Mumford Bar Trail are closed. In addition, Texas Hill Road from Fulda Creek to Junction of Forest Road No. 38 is closed. Tunnel Mills, North Fork, and Onion Valley Campgrounds are closed due to the 19 Road closure. Foresthill Divide Road from China Wall OHV Area to Sailor Flat remains closed due to fire operations and potential smoke conditions that may impede visibility; closure allows residents and two logging operations to continue to have access. The Placer County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol is staffing the closed portions of the Texas Hill Road and Foresthill Divide Road.

Active fires: Government Springs Fire (5,938 acres with 10% containment); Westville Fire (1,948 acres and 15% containment)

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Situation as of 07/04/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 645
Size: 7,139 acres
Percent Contained: 25%

America River ICP is now established at Eagle Mountain (Yuba Gap Rd) with some team members remaining in Foresthill camp to manage Westville Fire. Government Springs Fire – Progress continues with construction of confinement lines in the Willmont Saddle, Sawtooth Ridge area. Westville fire made a run along the SE flank toward the Foresthill Divide Road. Additional resources were moved to the Westville Fire for containment mission. Closures on Forest Service Road 19 and OHV trails and air space restrictions remain in place. Additional Forest trail closures are in effect. Foresthill Divide Road closed east of Foresthill.

Active fires: Government Springs Fire (5,384 acres with 10% containment); Westville Fire (1,204 acres and 15% containment); and Peavine Fire (552 acres 95% containment).

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Situation as of 07/03/08 11:00 PM
Total Personnel: 563?
Size: 6,277 acres
Percent Contained: 25%

Expected containment date: 7/30/08

Active fire movement against NW and NE corner of Government Springs Fire. Suppression resources are trying to hold the fire in this area while indirect line is constructed and burnout is implemented. Failure to hold in this area will lead to a substantially increase fire size and threaten the community of Blue Canyon, the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR), the I-80 corridor, and Tunnel Mills Spike Camp. The RR would be impacted before I-80. Probable economic impact of shutting down the rail line is about $1,000,000 per hour. The next 24 hours are critical. If lines are not completed and fire crosses in the Sawtooth Ridge area, the next probable location for indirect attack in right near Blue Canyon.

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Situation as of 07/02/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 563
Size: 6,027 acres
Percent Contained: 25%

Costs to Date: $3,550,000

Structures Threatened: 5 PRIM , 1 COMM , 5 OUTB Structures Destroyed: 1 PRIM

Government Springs Fire night shift started. Fire continued to bump the dozer line along the north flank. Spots were contained and line continues to hold. Dozer line completed and helicopter bucket work were successful in holding fire vicinity of Willmont Saddle/Burnett Creek drainage.

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Situation as of 07/01/08 6:30 PM
Total Personnel: 524
Size: 5,292 acres
Percent Contained: 20%

Active fires: Government Springs Fire (3768 acres with 0% containment); Westville Fire (722 acres and 15% containment); and Peavine Fire (552 acres 95% containment).

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Situation as of 06/30/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 493
Size: 4,180 acres
Percent Contained: 20%

Government Springs Fire 2,998 acres, 0% containment; Westville Fire 663 acres, 15% containment; Peavine Fire 518 acres, 90% containment.

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Situation as of 06/29/08 11:00 PM
Total Personnel: 467?
Size: 3,697 acres
Percent Contained: 10%

Based on a long-term assessment, it may be a race between suppression operations and fire spread in the Willmont Saddle area on the NW corner of Government Springs Fire. Suppression resources are trying to hold the fire in this area while indirect line is being built. Failure to hold in this area substantially increases fire size and threatens the community of Blue Canyon as well as the I-80 corridor. Lack of Field Observers hinders mapping efforts, fire behavior and weather observations.

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Situation as of 06/28/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 467
Size: 3,037 acres
Percent Contained: 10%

Costs to Date: $1,240,000

The Incident Management Team met with CALFIRE to discuss coordination and strategy on the Government Springs incident. We continue reviewing options for possible relocation of ICP. Relocation plans would include leaving a truncated management organization at Foresthill. An assessment is underway to determine the projected timeframe before the Government Springs Fire could begin to threaten Blue Canyon.

Direct attack continued on the Peavine Fire today. On the Government Springs Fire, operational resources began working on the indirect line along the northern perimeter. Crews continue to hold the south flank of the Westville Fire. The Tahoe NF continues to revise both WFSAs.

Active fires within the Complex include Peavine Fire (487 acres with 50% containment); Government Springs Fire (2193 acres with 0% containment), and Westville Fire (357 acres and 10% containment). Containment for the Complex increased to 10%. The following fires in this Complex have been contained: Texas Hill 1 - 1 acre, Texas Hill 2 = .75 acre, Ford Point 1 = .1 acre, Ford Point 2 = .1 acre, Mosquito Ridge = 3 acres, Hard Climb Fire = 1.5 acres, Red Fire = .25 acres.

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Situation as of 06/27/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 220
Size: 2,570 acres
Percent Contained: 5%

A lightning storm is anticipated to begin impacting the southern portion of the area tonight. A Red Flag Warning has been issued until 2300 hours for the area containing the Complex’s fires. Additional and more widespread lightning events are predicted through Saturday and into Sunday. These thunderstorms could produce strong gusty winds leading to erratic and unpredictable fire spread. Lightning associated with the storms could also create new starts. Resources assigned to the current fires in the Complex may be needed for Initial Attack. A lack of resources continues to retard our ability to achieve suppression objectives.

Government Springs and Westville Fires have only minimal staffing and continue to grow nearly unimpeded. The Westville Fire reached the dozer line along the south flank. A Type 2 hand crew a Type 2 helicopter, a couple of dozers, and a couple of engines are attempting to keep the fire from crossing the dozer line. If fire crosses dozer line, special blister rust-resistant sugar pines could be burned.

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Situation as of 06/26/08 11:00 PM
Total Personnel: 220
Size: 2,170 acres
Percent Contained: 5%

Smoke inversions continue to make it difficult to determine fire size. Potential for rapid fire growth exists when the inversion lifts.

All available resources are committed to the Peavine Fire (projected containment in 5 days if no further growth occurs). Meanwhile, Government Springs and Westville Fires remain mostly unstaffed and grow unimpeded. Threats to significant values along the I-80 corridor exist with fire spread to the NW to NE on the Government Springs Fire.

Air quality health issues are currently affecting the I-80 corridor from Reno to Auburn.

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Situation as of 06/25/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 138
Size: 1,750 acres
Percent Contained: 5%

Structures Threatened: 5 PRIM , 1 COMM , 5 OUTB. Structures Destroyed: 1 PRIM

An Incident Command Post (ICP) for the American River Complex was established at Foresthill Middle School. Government Springs Fire 1500-1900 acres is not accessible and is well established in the North Fork of the American River drainage. Operation resources did recon to assess suppression strategies. Implemenation of actions requires 5-7 crews (T1 and T2IA) to prep and burn indirect lines on the critical north flank. The fire has crested the canyon and is now burning into the Burnt Canyon area which contains recreational cabins and archaeological/historical sites. Damage is occurring to the Wild and Scenic river corridor and municipal watershed.

Peavine Fire was estimated at 200 acres and burning in the Peavine Creek drainage and is potential threat to the Placer Grove of Giant Sequoias. Westville fire is 50-75 acres and has potential to be several thousand acres. This fire is being influenced by the Government Springs Fire. The fire is unstaffed and is threating Wild and Scenic river, historical cabins, an active logging sale with log decks and equipment onsite.

At this time, acres for all three non-contained fires are estimates. The following fires in this complex have been contained: Texas Hill 1 - 1 acre, Texas Hill 2 = .75 acre, Ford Point 1 = .1 acre, Ford Point 2 = .1 acre, Mosquito Ridge = 3 acres, Hard Climb Fire = 1.5 acres, Red Fire = .25 acres.

Critical need for helicopters to support crews and allow them to engage the incident. A summer cabin was destoyed by the Government Springs Fire. Moderate to rapid rates of spread on steep rugged slopes fires made strongest runs on slopes with South and West aspects. Fire continues to burn in heavy timber.

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Situation as of 06/24/08 10:00 PM
Total Personnel: 87
Size: 1,300 acres
Percent Contained: 5%

Fatigue and lack of resources are compromising control objectives. The Gov and Westville fires may burn together. Significant up-canyon runs. Air quality health issues are currently affecting the community of Foresthill. Due to heavy smoke inversion the fires spread cannot be determined, there is the potential for rapid fire growth when the inversion lifts.

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Situation as of 06/22/08 5:00 PM
Total Personnel: 65
Size: ~150 acres
Percent Contained: 0%

Planned Actions: Cannot engage in any operations due to lack of resources.

The American River Complex currently includes the following active fires: Peavine - 20 acres, Middle Fork American River sub-drainage. Gov - 100 acres within Wild and Scenic River area, Wild status. Westville - 25 acres, North Fork American River. The following fires in this complex have been contained: Texas 1 - 1 acre, Texas 2 = .75 acre, Ford 1 = .1 acre, Ford 2 = .1 acre, Mosquito = 3 acres

23 Jun 2008, 6:33am
by Sally


We and our neighbors have watched this one burn from our living room window. We all feel so helpless when there are too many fires and we are lacking the equipment. For what you are doing at The American River Complex, and at the risk of repeating myself, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, to each and every firefighter and back-up personnel. You are valued and appreciated more than you know.

26 Jun 2008, 10:43pm
by Mary Lou


As the wife of a Wildland firefighter it is most refreshing to hear a hearty thank you, he risks his life everyday to help others in dire need and it warms my heart to see the positive comments. Thank you!

28 Jun 2008, 7:52pm
by Amy M.


I too am a wife of a member of the medical support team. It’s nice to hear that people appreciate the hard work and sacrifices our husbands are doing. We’re from AZ so he is far from his family but we both understand him being gone is for the greater good. I hope your home and family are safe.

29 Jun 2008, 10:14am
by Ralph B.


I am a Foresthill resident. To the firefighters: please accept our thank yous and the thanks of our neighbors. You are greatly appreciated! Please be safe. Thank you sooooooo much! God Bless.

4 Jul 2008, 2:39pm
by Colleen


I am in the Bay Area getting a mile-by-mile update to the fire coming to the back door of Blue Canyon where my fiance lives with a handful of others. I read this blog and I get sick seeing that it was left untended to grow in size and life until today.The politics of this fire will change all our lives, hopefully without a loss of structures, wildlife and forest in Blue Canyon. I am terrified and 4 hours away.

4 Jul 2008, 3:01pm
by Mike


Resources are critically needed to contain these fires. Personnel and equipment five-fold over what is being brought to bear right now are necessary to prevent massive fire expansion.

There are other higher priority fires in the state, especially in more populated areas. But as those fires wind down a much greater transfer of resources to the American River Complex would be very appropriate.

4 Jul 2008, 11:19pm
by Colleen


As needed and if lacking you have a trained map observer living in Blue Canyon. As the Lost Camp Road remains open my fiance has been able to drive/hike to the edge of a burn at the E side of the North Fork of the American River as of 7pm tonight 7/4/08. The terrain there is near vertical to the river’s edge and up to the back door of Blue Canyon. Thank you for all of your efforts and resources and especially for your observations on this particular website over the past few weeks.

5 Jul 2008, 9:18am
by Colleen


Blue Canyon: Drive/Hike to the E Side of the N Fork OF THE NORTH FORK of the American River AT CHINA CAMP reveals an inversion layer of cool air from last night (50’s) appearing to reinforce the heroic efforts of Hotshots and others in TNF containing this fire. Can hear a chainsaw too. Smoke layer is being suffocated and fire appears stopped for now. Thank heavens for fast responses and brave hearts of fire protection in this extreme terrain. THANK YOU.

7 Jul 2008, 6:00am
by Sally


I am a Foresthill resident. The Federal and Westville fires of the American River Complex have expanded. The smoke is unbelieveable. It’s like a heavy fog. I can not imaging what the fire personel have to cope with in addition to fighting the fires. Just keeping off of the roads, monitoring the locations, and getting ready to leave are very important. God bless all the people out there in this, who are helping to get these fires out out. I pray they are out soon.

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