Engines: 2 Crews: 3 Water Tenders: 1 Helicopters: 2 Dozers: 1 Total Personnel: 110
Monday (21st): Crews are continuing to secure the new handline on the southern section of the fire with tactical burning operations to remove fuel between the line and fire’s edge, mop-up of hotspots on the rest of the southern line, and work on suppression repair of the lines. This southeast section of the fire is in a roadless area in the Caples Creek drainage. The area is predominately rocky terrain with islands and stringers of vegetation and timber. Additional resources were released this morning.
The Caples Fire has been transferred back to the forest and managed by a smaller Type 4 organization. A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team is assigned to the fire to determine what actions need to be taken to repair damage or prevent further damage from erosion and precipitation.
Weather Forecast: Sunny and warmer today, with lowering humidity. Winds will be favorable for operations on the southern section of the fire and will push smoke to the southwest. Expect a warming and drying trend this week, with continued northeast to east winds. These winds are forecast to increase in intensity by mid-week and be accompanied by poor overnight humidity recovery and afternoon levels in the teens.
Smoke: Smoke would be from interior burning and tactical firing operations if they occur today. Smoke sensitive individuals are encouraged to reduce their exposure by avoiding smoky areas, closing windows, or staying indoors. Smoke levels can be monitored at www.purpleair.com or www.airnow.gov .
Road Closures: Due to the fire and suppression operations in progress the following roads and trails are unsafe for public use. The roads and trails in the Caples fire area are still closed by forest order 03-19-11. If you see a road blocked, please comply to keep firefighters and the public safe.
Background: The prescribed burn project began on September 30 as pile burning under favorable conditions following rain and snowstorms. The prescribed fire was within prescription and achieving the goals of the project of reducing fuels loading and create vegetation conditions that allow fires to burn with lower intensities and create defensible space. Once the red flag warning for the wind event was forecasted fire managers began building fire line and conducting firing operations to secure and strengthen the fire perimeter before the wind arrived. The containment lines held well through the wind event into Thursday morning when the winds changed direction pushing the fire farther to the south and west and increasing the fire activity. This activity increase took the project out of prescription as the project objectives were no longer being met. On October 10, the Caples fire was converted to a wildfire from a prescribed fire allowing managers to obtain additional resources not normally available to for a prescribed fire. The Caples Fire is being managed for full suppression.
Caples Ecological Restoration Project: The Caples Ecological Restoration Project is restoring fire to the Caples Creek watershed where naturally occurring wildfires started by lighting have been suppressed since 1908. The project is intended to improve forest health, fire resiliency and increase public safety. Prescribed fire treatments reduce fuel loadings, maintain vegetation conditions that allow fires to burn with lower intensities and create defensible space. The goal of this project is to promote a healthy resilient forest by reintroducing fire to the landscape.
The Caples Ecological Restoration Project is a collaborative effort between the Eldorado National Forest, El Dorado Irrigation District and Sierra Nevada Conservancy to restore fire to the Caples Creek watershed where naturally occurring wildfires started by lighting have been suppressed since 1908. The project provides a strategic landscape-wide fuel treatment that will reduce fuel to pre-settlement conditions that will protect the chief water supply to El Dorado County, improve wildlife habitat and create defensible space to nearby communities.