A “Wake UP!!” brush fire for Fritz & Heidi


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Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 22, 2010 - 09:54am PT
We returned from three days climbing at City of Rocks late yesterday. This morning at 6:20 AM the phone was ringing. By the time I stumbled to it, our neighbor had left a message about a big fire coming toward us.
The fire was readily apparent through our windows!

Luckily, we live on the green and irrigated east-side of the Snake River in S. Idaho. The fire is on the desert side of the Snake to our west. This is the 4th big fire over there since we have lived here.
Very smoky here now.
The hope is that the wind doesn’t pick up and help the fire jump the river.
There are dry spots on this side of the river, including a good chunk of our “ranchette.”

Stay tuned for our smoky day of adventure!
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Aug 22, 2010 - 09:57am PT
Scary, lightning caused?

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Aug 22, 2010 - 10:08am PT
Scaaaarrrrryyy. Glad you guys are okay. Stay that way!

Trad climber
Aug 22, 2010 - 10:14am PT
Break out the Pulaskis! Hope you don't get any spotting over the river. Otherwise great pics!
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
Aug 22, 2010 - 12:08pm PT
Fritz. All the benefits of Los Angeles with none of the crowds.

Pictures from my house last year:

Stay safe and enjoy the cross country hiking once it is passed.

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 22, 2010 - 12:15pm PT
Thanks folks! Spider! Nice fire photos.

We have been over at our neighbors to the west, whose house has great river & fire views. They are in the headlights if the fire jumps the river, so they are a little nervous.

I'm going back to the neighbors to see what's happening! So far the fire crews are letting the fire run in our area. The obvious hope is that the river will stop the fire.

That didn't work when we had the last big fire a few years back. The fire jumped the Snake in a bunch of places.

Trad climber
Aug 22, 2010 - 12:24pm PT
It looks like a clean line with little spotting. Kinda looks as if the fire is burning under a stable inversion. Hopefully it will just crawl around until its done its thing and the heavier fuels near the river won't even ignite.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Aug 22, 2010 - 12:25pm PT
Dodged one young man. I arrive at COR tomorrow at about 3PM. There will be 4 for tacos in addition to you and your better half.

Big Wall climber
Sedro Woolley, WA
Aug 22, 2010 - 12:34pm PT
Fritz, nothing burns like Bromus tectorum L., ahhh, Cheatgrass, Sage Brush and Russian Olives!

Keep an eye on that one for sure!

Donini "Da Man" at COR, wish I could go, please post a TR complete with fun pictures!

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Aug 22, 2010 - 12:40pm PT
Ah Fritz-you aren't going to want any of those nurses returned are you?

Give me a good lead time if that is the case.

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 22, 2010 - 02:23pm PT
Thanks Guys! Guido: I will need at least one nurse after Donini is done with me.

Yes! The fire was backing into the wind, but it was working our way, and a northern finger was coming with the wind.

We could see several BLM engine trucks parked a mile away, near the north edge of the fire. The road down the west side of the river is one lane with no turn-arounds for a couple miles, so they were not going to come our way.

The "good guys" arrived at 10:25!

It was great fun to watch the copter fill his bucket, only 100 yards away.

After the copter started knocking down the fire coming towards us, a twin-engine retardant bomber made several passes on the north end of the fire.

Presently, another copter is working hot-spots and the BLM tanker trucks have arrived.

Reports are the fire is still running south, where eventually it will hit irrigated farmland. Probably lightning caused.


Trad climber
The state of confusion
Aug 22, 2010 - 05:01pm PT

Glad you're safe, Fritz. . .

Hope it stays that way. . .
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Aug 22, 2010 - 05:27pm PT
Hope your home makes it ok and it stays on the other side of the river!

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 22, 2010 - 05:35pm PT
"It ain't over until it's over!" How true! The helicopters went away, the fire flared back up and just burned to the edge of the Snake across from our property.

We have 4 local fire trucks waiting for the fire to jump the river and burn up our side, but it hasn't happened--------yet.

A fireman told me the fire, actually two fires, was over 100,000 acres in size and still growing rapidly.

We can see another part of the fire burning hot at least 5 miles north.

Photos to follow!
Jake M.

Trad climber
Aptos, CA
Aug 22, 2010 - 05:50pm PT
Hi Fritz,
That fire looks toooo close! I think the helicopter is a Kaman K-max? http://www.kamanaero.com/helicopters/kmax.html I haven't seen one in person but it looks like it sure did the job.

Good luck!

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 22, 2010 - 06:08pm PT
UPDATE, new pictures: Long Butte Fire explodes to 210,000 acres!


No wonder the helicopters left. The summer BLM fire crews have mostly gone back to college, and local fire departments are picking up the slack.

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 22, 2010 - 06:58pm PT
Jake M. Thanks for the copter ID. Ezra & SteveW: I appreciate the kind words.

About 2:00PM I wandered out our driveway to see what was happening, and realized our part of the fire was burning again. The helicopters had left and no fire crews were in sight.

I walked down to the paved county road and watched the fire, once again heading for our side of the river. After a while local fire crews started showing up, but the fire was untouchable from our position. No crews were working the other side of the river.

After a while I went back to our neighbors to share the fact that the local fire department was ready to attempt to save their home, if the fire jumped the river.

The fire backed down the slope toward the river slowly, with occasional "flare-ups."

Suddenly I saw something swimming the river. It was a mule deer buck getting away from the fire. He was across the river very quickly.

After most of the remaining riverside was burned, a helicopter came back and started dumping water. Then another showed up.

My neighbor and I agreed that they had dodged a bullet. I promised to do the "here's to cheating death" toast for them tonight.

After walking back to my house and doing a little busy work, I suddenly noticed a copter very close.

Dashed back out and decided he was just checking things out.

The worst is over, but we will have fire to watch tonight on the horizon.

On the bright side! Should be a great sunset tonight with all the smoke in the air!


Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Aug 22, 2010 - 11:07pm PT
Holy $hit Fritz!!

I must have missed this post earlier today. I was so bushed from working out at the gym that I went to bed early. Just got up to get a drink of aqua pura and check the weather forecast on the computer and, Holy $hit! There's Fritz in a panic for his home!!

Stay safe! Looks as though the worst is over, locally. The BLM crew may need to deal with some local "hot spots" though.

Up where I live, 2 of the neighbors have 4-WD ex-military-converted fire trucks parked on their ranches. If we get a lightning fire. we have to deal with it ourselves. If we wait too long, we are truly fuked.


Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 22, 2010 - 11:10pm PT
The sunset wasn't very good, but we have a fire "flare-up" again, with two helicopters working the "hot spots."

The setting sun showed more clouds of smoke to the northwest.


Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 23, 2010 - 12:50am PT
Latest update. The fire is: estimated at 215,000 acres or 336 square miles. It has burned two out-buildings so far.


Wikipedia estimates that Los Angeles takes up 498 square miles.

Welcome to the Owyhee desert burn zone of Idaho.
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