Firefighters get first-hand look at hot spots in Grizzly Creek drainage

Yesterday, two firefighters were ferried by helicopter into the Grizzly Creek drainage to get a closer look at four hot spots near the edge of uncontained line discovered during previous surveillance flights and drone operations.
Division North Supervisor Dusty Calfee and Task Force Leader Jake Fischer spent seven hours in the drainage, reaching three of the four most prominent hot spots and getting line around two of the spots.

“What’s causing the heat and smoke is fire coming from down low in the duff,” Calfee said. “It’s leaf litter, needle cast and small branches, and it’s that creeping, smoldering type of fire that doesn’t always get spotted by helicopters.”

Calfee and Fischer hiked through 8-foot high brush, and crossed through shin-deep water multiple times. They noted several other locations during their hike showing low-intensity heat.

“This is not the type of fire activity that poses an immediate threat,” said Calfee. “At the moment, fire activity is minimal. If it were to find jackpots of fuel, activity could increase and become a threat in dry fall conditions. Should that happen, we may need to take action using aerial resources, or other strategies. We will continue to closely monitor the fire in the drainage, and take action when needed.”

The remote location inside the Grizzly Creek drainage is a safety risk for firefighters due to steep slopes, vertical cliff bands, scree fields and stretches of continuous brush. These factors make it very difficult to construct containment line in all the areas showing heat. The terrain makes it extremely difficult to extricate an injured firefighter if necessary.

Most of the other work being done on the fire involves suppression repair. Excavator work continues on the Transfer Trail Road, which will remain closed until work is complete. On the southern edge of the fire, crews have completed repair of all fire line. They are now cleaning up piles of logs and debris, and starting fence repair.

The Grizzly Creek Fire remains at 32,431 acres, and is 91% contained, with 86 people working on the fire.

The BLM and Forest closures that include the area south of Coffee Pot Road are still in place. A map of the closures is available on InciWeb: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6942/.

The BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office and the White River National Forest remain under Stage 2 fire restrictions, which prohibit all campfires and charcoal, even in developed areas. For more information, go to www.blm.gov or www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.

Firefighters get first-hand look at hot spots in Grizzly Creek drainage