National Wildfire Coordinating Group
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California Incident Management Team 13 is now in command of the Cowlitz Complex. The team would like to recognize the work of Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Two, as well as the local fire personnel and firefighters first to respond to the 30 fires in the complex. These fires started August 25 after a lightning event across the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Maintaining the level of firefighting resources, dedication to safety, and goal of keeping fires small and in their current footprint remain priorities for Team 13, as well as continuing to be ready for any new fire starts or spread.
Current Situation: The Cowlitz Complex is 21% contained with a total of 672 acres and 281 personnel. A warming and drying trend begins on Wednesday. Overnight humidity recovery will worsen by Thursday with above normal temperatures by the end of the week. This could result in increased fire activity. Monday, incoming incident management team personnel got eyes on the complex of fires and reported minimal fire activity on the Grassy Mountain Fire, one of the fires of concern in the complex. The same is true for the Snagtooth and Spencer Quartz fires.
Progress has been made on the Snagtooth and Spencer Quartz fires. Fire managers are using natural barriers, improving road systems, and building indirect line to create a “catcher’s mitt” to prevent the fires from moving toward the southwest.
The South Fork Fire is located 5.5 miles west-southwest of Packwood, Washington, in the South Fork Williams Creek drainage.
The Carlton Ridge Fire is about ½-mile northeast of private property on Carlton Ridge, about 7.5 miles northwest of White Pass.
The Grassy Mountain Fire is located 4.5 miles northeast of Randle, Washington, on the northern slope of Grassy Mountain. The remote location, dense forest canopy, and steep terrain limit access to safely get fire crews in and out of the fire area. The Grassy Mountain fire is currently unstaffed.
The Snagtooth and Spencer Quartz Fires are located 21 miles south of Randle on the south side of Snagtooth Mountain. Together, they are the largest of the Cowlitz Complex fires.
Recycling in Fire Camp: Fire camp is a busy place with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people. Just like a city, these fire camps generate huge amounts of waste. Paper and cardboard, water and Gatorade bottles, stacks of wooden pallets, food and cooking waste and non-recyclable trash.
One technique that fire managers utilize to reduce this waste challenge is by ordering recycling specialist contractors to provide on-site recycling and trash service in fire camps. Data collected during the 2020 fire season indicated that.... Read Full Article
Smoke Information: Visit Airnow.gov for current smoke conditions near you. Expect valley fog in the morning, turning into clear skies and a mostly sunny day.
Closures: Due to fire activity on the Snagtooth Fire the following roads and trails are closed to the public to reduce exposure and help ensure public safety: Forest Roads 9300 and 9341, Boundary Trail #1 (from Elk Pass to intersection with Summit Prairie), Summit Prairie #2, Craggy Peak #3, Snagtooth #4, Quartz #5, Stabler Camp #17, Wright Meadows #80, Basin Camp #3A, Quartz #5B, Quartz #5C (French Creek), Snyder Pasture #80A. For more information, please view the Forest Order and Forest Order Map.
Additionally, Forest Road 8410 is closed in the vicinity of the Pothole Fire, and Forest Road 78 is temporarily closed between the 7802 junction and the 2278 junction due to hazardous debris rolling out onto the roadway.
Huckleberries - Did you know that there are twelve species of huckleberries that grow in Washington and Oregon. They are often grouped into plants producing red or blue berries, and plants that produce berries in clusters or individually on the twig. The most sought-after huckleberry is the thin-leaved huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum). This species is renowned for its large, sweet, purple berries, occurring singly on the plant. The peak season for picking huckleberries occurs between mid-August to mid-September. Read more about Huckleberry harvesting on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): Two TFRs are in effect, one located north of US-12 to Mount Rainier National Park, and a new TFR south of US-12 to include Snagtooth and Spencer Quartz fires. View the TFR’s at the Federal Aviation Administration Website. Fire aviation response is halted or delayed if an unauthorized aircraft enters the TFR. Temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems or drones. If you fly, we can’t! Learn more about how to use drones safely and responsibly at Home - Know Before You Fly
Gifford Pinchot National Forest: The Gifford Pinchot National Forest includes over 1.3 million acres of forest, wildlife habitat, watersheds & mountains, including Mt. Adams & Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
The Cowlitz Valley area is administered by the Cowlitz Valley Ranger District. This area is located in the Northern most portion of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in southwest Washington, and comprises about 575,000 acres of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The Cowlitz Valley area is roughly located among three volcanic peaks: Mt. Rainier to the north, Mt. Adams to the east, and Mt. St. Helens to the west. A line connecting Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens following the Boundary Trail #1 makes up the southern boundary. On clear days this trail affords spectacular views.
Nearby towns include Packwood, Glenoma, Morton and Ashford. The area has numerous campgrounds and over 500 miles of trails for a wide variety of users. Cowlitz Valley Ranger District manages four Wilderness areas including the Goat Rocks Wilderness, Glacier View Wilderness, Tatoosh Wilderness and William O Douglass Wilderness. Major River Drainages include the Cowlitz River, Clear Fork of the Cowlitz, and the Cispus River.
Nearby attractions include Mt. Rainier National Park and Mount St. Helens National Monument.
Timber (litter and understory)
Mixed conifer forests dominated by Douglas-fir, Western hemlock, Red Cedar, Spruce, and Alder. High crown bulk density and moderate to high crown base heights (height to lowest branches). Low to Moderate herbaceous/shrub component. High amounts of dead and fallen trees, and duff component.
Minimal fire behavior with creeping, backing and smoldering. There is isolated surface fire activity primarily on the south aspects of the Spencer Quartz and Snagtooth fires.
12 hours: As the cloud cover burns off in the afternoon humidity will decrease to around 50
24 hours: As the marine influence gradually recedes, resulting in clearing skies with daytime temperatures increasing slightly as the humidity drops allowing for continued fire activity. Overnight there is a potential for a thermal belt to develop and allow some fire activity to continue in the affected areas. The heavier fuels and burning stump holes will continue to produce smoke until consumed or extinguished resulting in areas of smoldering and creeping. During the peak burn period there may be some active backing and flanking in interior green islands or dirty burn areas, particularly those areas exposed to the sun.
48 hours: Developing moderate high pressure increasing warmer temperatures and lower humidity. This will allow for hot dry conditions increasing the availability of fuels and fire activity. The heavier fuels and burning stump holes will continue to produce smoke until consumed or extinguished. There could be areas of smoldering and creeping. During the peak burn period there may be some active backing and flanking in interior green islands or dirty burn areas.
72 hours: The high pressure will provide warmer temperatures and lower humidity.
12 hours: Smith River Complex South
12 hours: Smith River Complex North
24 hours: Smith River Complex South
24 hours: Smith River Complex North
48 hours: Smith River Complex South
48 hours: Smith River Complex North
72 hours: Smith River Complex South
72 hours: Smith River Complex North
72 hours: Smith River Complex South
72 hours: Smith River Complex North
12 hours: Fire behavior is expected to be minimal. Creeping and smoldering in duff with isolated jackpots of concentrated heavy dead and downed fuels. No perimeter growth is anticipated.
24 hours: Seasonable warm and dry weather will continue and allow for interior fuels to continue to consume. Fire behavior will be creeping and smoldering in surface fuels while consuming jackpots of concentrated heavy dead and downed fuels. No perimeter growth anticipated.
48 hours: Continued warm and dry weather, fire behavior potential will be limited to areas of available fuels interior to established control features. No perimeter growth anticipated.
72 hours: Continued warm and dry weather, fire behavior potential will be limited to areas of available fuels interior to established control features. No perimeter growth is anticipated.
72 hours: ERC values for the area are forecast to rise near the 90th percentile by Friday. No perimeter growth growth is anticipated.