Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Satus Pass Mile Marker 28 Fire Passes 20,000 Acres

Mile Mark 28 Highway Sign Along Highway 97 With Smoke In The Distance

Here is where it all began Wednesday July 24.    Until the fire is over and Satus Pass is open I won't be able to compare just how close it was to where the Monastery fire of 2011 began....Same highway, virtually the same starting point.

Goldendale has more than 1,200 firefighters adding color and almost a festive air to this little rural hamlet.  Business is booming for gas stations and cafes.    colorful tents are growing in numbers blanketing the high school parking lot and lawns.  There is There is a Fire T Shirt concession stand that has opened up across the street from the incident command center where the tents are scattered.  THANK YOU FIREFIGHTERS signs are starting to pop up on signs, some sporting balloons and hearts.

Lots of strange vehicles in town, a large trailer that says SAW GUYS, these fellows are part of the clean up crew and containment line.

Yesterday in The Dalles Or across the river, the shifting winds had sent the smoke across Goldendale, across the Columbia river and was filling Gorge towns with it's unwelcome presence.  We ran into our Hood River, Or vet enjoying the same Mexican buffet at Casa El Mirador that we were.  We chatted about the fire.

Not only is Goldendale small, less than 4,000, the entire county  is 19,000, but the area is so friendly that it's very common to run into people or receptive strangers anywhere in the Gorge area.

Turns out the owner of the restaurant has a 19 year old fire fighting son, who so loves his 2nd year so much that he wants nothing to do with the family restaurant business.  He's hooked on the adrenal lifestyle, gets to travel all over the western states chasing fires, meets lots of new people, loves the physical activity of the hard, dirty work and makes good money.

Not bad for a 19 year old, is it?  Sure beats the heck out of slaughtering people around the world for special interests

Firefighters Receive Briefing On The Hood Of A Pickup Truck In Division A

This is what an incident briefing looks like as strategies are formed on the best attack method.  As of yesterday early afternoon, the fire had grown to
20, 377 acres, or about 5 times larger than the Monastery Fire.

Amazingly enough, we believe no structures have been lost, of course, there are far fewer structures to be lost where this fire burns, here is the scoop:

Current Situation

Total Personnel1,345
Size20,337 acres
Percent Contained25%
Fuels InvolvedGrass, timber, timber litter, shrub
Fire BehaviorActive fire growth on the east end of the fire.
Significant EventsUS Hwy 97 remains closed today. The Level 3 evacuation area was lifted south of the fire. Team 2 provided a briefing for the Yakama Nation Tribal Council.


Planned ActionsBegin mop up along existing control lines. Continue to build control lines for full containment.
Growth PotentialMedium
Terrain DifficultyHigh

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