Wednesday, October 3, 2012
TROUT LAKE, Wash. — Firefighters working on the 17,000-acre Cascade Creek Wildfire, burning on the south and west flanks of Mount Adams, were watching the weather closely in anticipation of a dry cold front slated to bring strong, gusty winds Monday night and Tuesday.
On the fire’s eastern perimeter, crews continue to work on hot spots near the Aiken Lava Bed. Buried wood and debris smolder deep among the lava cracks and tunnels, resisting efforts to be cooled and extinguished.
Helicopters have been dropping buckets of water and retardant to assist the firefighters on the ground.
On the southern perimeter, mop-up is proceeding and crews are close to completing their assignment to extinguish all heat sources within 75-100 feet of the containment line and retrieve firefighting equipment to fire camp.
The most diverse firefighting actions continue to take place on the western flank.
Early the morning of Sept. 30, a dry thermal belt moved down the mountain, feeding active fire behavior and a rapid downhill run that added about 1,200 acres to the fire’s size.
Monday, with humidity drops and winds shifting to come from the southwest, the crews planned to burn an additional swath of about 1,000 acres to connect existing burned areas to forest types that have defendable topography and relatively low flammability. This action may help in anticipation of strong winds from the north, expected to arrive on Tuesday.
The early week weather conditions, with winds forecast to reach 10-20 mph with gusts to 35, will be of concern for firefighters.
In addition to moving the fire, wind increases the risk of falling trees and snags, potentially further endangering firefighters on the lines.
The fire is currently listed as 63 percent contained. Twelve crews are still assigned with 456 personnel still at work.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge