September 23

Rough Fire Update September 23 2015

Fall is here but the fire season is far from over! Click for incident page at Inciweb.

Incident Overview

Arizona ST 257C, Division X
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Hotshot crew member assisting with a tactical firing operation in Division ZZ Hotshot crew member assisting with a tactical firing operation in Division ZZ
With a collaborative effort between Incident Management Teams and firefighters, the threat to the State Responsibility Area has been mitigated. The Rough Fire is now split into two zones. California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 has command of the South while the South Central Sierra Incident Management Team 2 has command of the North Zone.
Sky Crane working the Rough Fire
Breakdown of Acreage by Ownership:
Kings Canyon National Park: 8,564 Acres
Sequoia National Forest: 82,288 Acres
Sierra National Forest: 51,645 Acres
State Lands: 6 Acres
Private Lands: 1,057 Acres The cumulative effects of 5 days of hot and dry conditions continue to promote active fire behavior within the established containment lines. Observed fire behavior includes low intensity fire spread through forest surface litter, single tree torching, and isolated intense heat associated with the heavy accumulation of logs and stumps throughout the burn area. Smoke production levels have diminished with the completion of the large burnout operations.
A heightened concern during mop-up and the suppression repair phase are the environmental hazards which include rollout of heavy material and snags. The ongoing effects of firefighter fatigue will continue to be monitored due to the lengthy effects of an active fire season, increased heat, and exposure to smoke. Hazard trees within the Highway 180 corridor and near the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park entrance are continually being assessed.
With road closures being removed, increased traffic has been observed.
Sequoia Trees
Fire and The Giant Sequoia Trees
Fire helps giant sequoias in many ways. Small, green cones full of seeds awaiting germination grow near the crown of the trees, yet without fire or insects to crack open the cone, the seeds remain trapped inside. Green cones can live with viable seeds inside them for up to twenty years. Fire dries out the cones, enabling them to crack open and deposit their seeds on the forest floor. Clusters of Giant Sequoias may be found where fire once burned very hot, called a Hot Spot. Because the shade canopy is destroyed, those remaining plants can tolerate high light intensities will be favored.
Pine Cone From a Sequoia Tiny seeds from a pine cone
The thicker bark will not hold a flame, but the can be seared through when accumulations of fuel beneath the tree burn for a long time. The deep and long fire scars that can be seen on many Giant Sequoia trunks are probably due to the heat of the burning, less fire- resistant adjacent trees.
Sequoia Trees
Often despite severe fire damage (some burned completely hollow) Giant Sequoias can survive for centuries. Continually new wood grows from either side of a fire scar, covering a little more each year until the injury is healed over like a new skin on a body. Cross-sections of logged Sequoias disclose many cases where fire scars have completely healed after the damage was incurred.
Resource Advisor assesing Sequoia Trees THe Trunk of a Giant Sequoia
Sequoia National Park remains open and visitors can still use the Ash Mountain Entrance Station. Vehicles longer than 22 feet (including trailers) are not advised between Potwisha and Giant Forest Museum.
Forest officials have been forced to close the Hume Lake Ranger District. This includes Forest Service managed land from the southeast side of Pine Flat Reservoir to the boundaries of Kings Canyon National Park, and the Eshom area north of Badger. A closure map can be found on the Sequoia National Forest website This closure is expected to continue until the Rough Fire has been contained.

Basic Information

Current as of 9/23/2015, 7:00:00 AM
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Lightning/natural
Date of Origin Friday July 31st, 2015 approx. 07:00 PM
Location 5 miles North of Hume Lake and 2.5 miles to the southwest of Spanish Mountain5
Incident Commander Rocky Opliger CA Interagency IMT 4, David Cooper Type II IMT
Incident Description Wildfire

Current Situation

Total Personnel 1,334
Size 143,559 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 75%
Fuels Involved Timber (Litter and Understory)
Chaparral (6 feet)
Tall Grass (2.5 feet)
Significant Events Active, Backing, Creeping


Planned Actions **South Zone: Continue to monitor Div ZZ (Branch I); patrol and aggressive mop-up in the remainder of Div ZZ. Monitor Div U (Branch X) after hand firing operation of interior unburned island. Specific and focused mop-up to secure area around Grant Grove following firing operation in Div W and Div X.
Utilize focused IR platform.
Reinforce, mop-up, and hold current control lines only to the extent necessary to prevent escape. Continue patrol. Demob excess resources. Support Initial Attack responsibilities. Support Suppression Repair activities which are underway. Prepare for road opening and increased traffic and repopulation.
**North Zone: Trimmer Spike Camp will be closing today and the majority of the resources will be returning to Dinkey Base/ICP at the end of their shift. Fire Suppression Repair efforts continue in Divisions A through D including the Crown Valley Trail. Patrol Divisions E and F by air.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns Warm and stable high pressure will maintain a hold on the area into midweek. No chance of rain is forecast through Sunday. Morning lows Tuesday were mainly in the mid to upper 60s except 50s higher elevations. Highs were 85 to 95 degrees in valleys and on lower slopes with humidity 20 to 28 percent. Temperatures will remain warm to hot on Wednesday in the mid to upper 80s as limited moisture spreads east into the area. Slope and valley winds with a daytime west component around 5 to 10 mph with gusts to 15 mph will reverse overnight becoming east to northeast 5 to 10 mph after midnight with a moderate inversion.


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