Top Stories July 20, 2016

Dubois Area Fire Fight Hampered By Wind

by Jackson Hole. Media

Its called the Lava Mountain Fire and its is burning northwest of Dubois on the Wind River Ranger District of the Shoshone National Forest  The fire was caused by lighting and smoke was first reported back on July 10th.

Firefighters have walked the area and made several flights. However, for the first few days, crews were unable to locate the fire due to its lack of size and visible smoke.

Last Saturday  the fire grew to around 250 acres due to increased temperatures and wind. At that time, additional resources were ordered and a Type 2 Incident Management Team was deployed to Dubois. 

Because of the significant amounts of dead and down trees and snags it has been unsafe to send resources in to battle the blaze except for those areas where fuel reduction work has been done..

Suppression efforts are focused on the east side of the fire along Forest Service Road 540 and the private structures in the valley. In addition to structure protection on private property, suppression efforts are actively taking place along the Forest Service Road 540.

If the conditions are appropriate, firefighters will conduct a burnout designed to remove the fuels between FSR 540 and the main fire. If done, this burnout will help prevent the fire from running across the road and towards the nearby structures. While spot fires may still occur, this back-burn will help provide a more defensible position for crews to protect the structures from. 

In dead and down timber, water and fire retardant temporarily reduce the fire’s intensity in the immediate area. To be most effective, aerial resources need to work in conjunction with firefighters on the ground so they can take advantage of the opportunity. Air operations are not being used in areas that are currently unsafe for firefighters because without that team work, the attempts to curb fire growth would likely fail. 

Yesterday, with increased temperatures and wind, the flames grew more active causing short fire runs and single and group tree torching. The rest of the week may bring more strong winds.

photo:USFS

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