The Sun Valley Idaho area is suddenly a burning question!

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Jelf

climber
Aug 18, 2013 - 04:37pm PT
The following link will always display the most perimeter of the Beaver Creek Fire straight from the GeoMAC server. This is the same server that also provides data to the crews on the fire line. Sometimes the data on the InciWeb site is not as current as the data that comes from the GeoMAC server. (The InciWeb site gets its data from GeoMAC.)

To see high resolution topographic maps first open the ‘map type’ menu and then select “t4 Topo High”. The ‘map type’ button always displays the name of the current basemap and is in the upper right corner of the map (lower right corner on mobile devices).

To see the basemap prepared by the Blaine County GIS staff, including parcel lines, open the ‘map type' menu and then select "Blaine_County_basemap". Zoom in for more detail. You can also try Menu ==> Search.

To always open the map zoomed in on a specific spot, first make the map look the way you want it to look on your screen. Then click (or touch) Menu ==> Link to this map.

If you open this link on a smartphone or other mobile device then you will automatically see a touch-friendly interface.

http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=43.58445,-114.467517&z=11&t=m,Fire_perimeter,Fires,Blaine_County_basemap&wms=http://wildfire.cr.usgs.gov/ArcGIS/services/geomac_dyn/MapServer/WMSServer?name=Fire_perimeter&layers=23&transparent=true&wms=http://wildfire.cr.usgs.gov/ArcGIS/services/geomac_dyn/MapServer/WMSServer?name=Fires&layers=24&transparent=true&rest=http://maps.co.blaine.id.us/bcgis/rest/services/BlaineCoBaseMapFGDB/MapServer?name=Blaine_County_basemap&layers=0-51

For more information on GeoMAC see:
http://www.geomac.gov/index.shtml

The map is displayed by Gmap4 which is an enhanced Google map viewer that I developed. To see the perimeter for other fires simply zoom out and pan the map.

Gmap4 homepage: http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html

Joseph, the Gmap4 guy
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 18, 2013 - 05:42pm PT
Joseph: Thanks for the links. Works for me. I do appreciate the Inciweb link maps are often out of date.

Thanks everyone for the anniversary wishes! Things are looking more encouraging for the Sun Valley area today.

But the Schist just keeps coming for Idaho. There is a new fire that is burning hot on the SW side of the Sawtooth Mtns.

The Little Queens Fire is already at 1,000 acres and is currently staffed by 4 observers. It will likely affect air quality in the Stanley area, and there are already trail closures in the area.

http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3663/

Here's some more photos from the Beaver Cr. fire.

The main firecamp on Big Wood River with the fire coming for it on 8/1...
The main firecamp on Big Wood River with the fire coming for it on 8/16.
Credit: Fritz

Panorama of fire camp and fires on 8/17 by Jacques Bordeleau.
Panorama of fire camp and fires on 8/17 by Jacques Bordeleau.
Credit: Fritz

Burning above Big Wood River between Deer Cr. & Greenhorn Gulch on 8/1...
Burning above Big Wood River between Deer Cr. & Greenhorn Gulch on 8/16. Photo by Ben McCoy.
Credit: Fritz

Greenhorn Gulch spot fires on 8/15.  At times the fire was spotting ou...
Greenhorn Gulch spot fires on 8/15. At times the fire was spotting out to one mile in front of the main flames.
Credit: USFS

A side canyon of Greenhorn Gulch, named Imperial Gulch, on 8/15.
A side canyon of Greenhorn Gulch, named Imperial Gulch, on 8/15.
Credit: Fritz

Note all the smallish fire tornados, and spot fires in front of the wa...
Note all the smallish fire tornados, and spot fires in front of the wall of flames.
Credit: USFS

Timber Gulch burnout today.  Note the large-black tornado.  Timber Gul...
Timber Gulch burnout today. Note the large-black tornado. Timber Gulch heads up at Mt. Baldy,the main ski mountain for Sun Valley. The Forest Service folks assert this is all under control.
Credit: Ben McCoy


susan peplow

climber
Joshua Tree, CA
Aug 18, 2013 - 08:13pm PT
A shout out for safety of one of our own Supertopian's Chris Trudeau. Almost for certain in the thick of this as he's the Helitack Superintendent for Swan Valley just east of there. Hoping for speedy containment and most importantly safety of residents and firefighters!
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Aug 20, 2013 - 08:02am PT
Bump for this. Does anyone have any updates - particularly Croy Creek - Fritz, anyone? The inciweb and Blaine sites don't seem to give much away.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 20, 2013 - 09:50am PT
Jaaan & all: Things are looking much better on the Beaver Creek fire.

Looking at recent updates:

Pre-evacuation alert for Ketchum & Sun Valley were lifted last night.

Sat. photos of the fire at 3:00 A.M. this morning show recent burning only on the N.E. corner of the fire.

Most all of Croy Cr. burned on the N. side of the main road, but no structures are reported lost.

Currently 1,800 fire-fighters and a bunch of copters, planes, and bull-dozers are in the area.

Fire manager was optimistic last night about total control of the fire happening soon.

Scattered showers and higher humidity are expected for the next three days.

On the down-side, the new Little Queens fire on the S.W side of the Sawtooth Range is up to 7,000 areas and the nearby ghost/mining/tourist town of Atlanta is under mandatory evacuation. Smoke was very bad yesterday in the south-end of the Sawtooths.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Aug 20, 2013 - 10:03am PT
Thanks again Fritz.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Aug 20, 2013 - 12:15pm PT
Today's paper says it is still only 9% contained/97Kacres with continued
potential strong winds. :-(

I remember a fire in E Washington in the 70's was about 40K acres and that
was considered nearly cataclysmic back then. That would be considered
NBD these days. Our Station Fire two years ago was 160K acres.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Aug 21, 2013 - 11:45am PT
Seems things are looking a bit better now. My friends have been told they can hopefully go home today or tomorrow.

Question is now what can be done about the 100 years of fire suppression timber that's just waiting to go up again? Can it be safely burned under control? Is there an official strategy to somehow deal with this?
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Aug 21, 2013 - 12:07pm PT
All of these fires would be NBD, if there were some selective timber harvesting and removal of the underburden. The fires near my ranch/home last year were a result of lots of old and beetle killed timber going up in smoke and flames. The selective removal of dead trees by firewood users hd been discontinued. Everything simply becomes a throwaway under the current system.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Aug 21, 2013 - 12:16pm PT
I was climbing at Elephant's Perch last year and we could see and smell the smoke from the Halstead fire. From what you say about the big fires back in 1910 Idaho does seem to have a bad track record. Do other states suffer in this way/as badly? I guess California is one...?
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Aug 22, 2013 - 08:12am PT
My friend in Idaho, Marion A. Carlson, who owns a hay farm up there, has posted this picture on her FB Timeline.
Blazin' away!
Blazin' away!
Credit: Mandy Carlson

Mandy Carlson was from Merced and knew The Flames intimately.

She resided in Wawona for a time "back when."

One night, in fall, she hosted one fine party there.

We gladly went, for it was raining like heck in the Valley.

Even Flames need someplace to dry out.

The beer was flowing...hardly a dry night!

Oh, how I wish it would rain!
Bad Climber

climber
Aug 22, 2013 - 09:15am PT
I'm hoping for the best in Idaho. We need fires, but we like to live in areas meant to burn. Not a good combo. Y'all should know that beetle kill IS NOT an indicator of increased fire risk. It just looks that way. Here's a quote from a leading scientist/forester:

Below is an excerpt from Dr. Kulakowski’s testimony on April 11, 2013 before the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation of the Committee on Natural Resources of the United States House of Representatives. He was providing information for the committee members to consider when they vote on H.R. 1442, a proposed bill with a strange name, the “Depleting Risk from Insect Infestation, Soil Erosion, and Catastrophic Fire Act of 2013″.



“…Another example is that of a major outbreak of spruce beetle in spruce and fir forests in Colorado in the 1940s, following which there was substantial concern about the increased risk of fire. But although over 300 fires occurred in that region in the decades that followed, our research found that the forests affected by beetles were no more likely to have burned than other forests. Furthermore, no major fires occurred in those beetle-affected forests in the years and decades that followed the outbreak despite the abundance of dead trees. The most likely explanation for this lack of large severe fires is that climatic conditions in these forests are a more important factor in determining fire risk than is the presence of dead trees. In fact, it was not until a severe drought in 2002 that a large fire affected these forests. During that year there were many wildfires in Colorado, the majority of which burned forests with no recent history of outbreaks.

The article: http://wildfiretoday.com/tag/beetles/

Counter-intuitive, yo!

BAd
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Aug 22, 2013 - 11:01am PT
That quoted statement is a perfect example of mealy-mouthed double-speak. Of course there's no greater risk of a fire "outbreak." That is normally left to lightning. The old dry beetle killed timber burns like crazy once it's ignited, though. In the northern Medicine Bow National Forest near my ranch, there hasn't been anything done to reduce the spread of wildfires, such as selective removal of 100 years of accumulated dead timber; this resulted in over 150K acres being destroyed last Summer.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Aug 22, 2013 - 12:09pm PT
Am I being naďve in thinking that one of the reasons that there is a beetle problem is that fires that would otherwise have wiped them out, have been suppressed?
John M

climber
Aug 22, 2013 - 12:20pm PT
Brokedown.. that article goes on to say..

Furthermore, no major fires occurred in those beetle-affected forests in the years and decades that followed the outbreak despite the abundance of dead trees.

He then theorizes that weather is the primary difference, not dead trees. I have no idea, but it is interesting to me how much a fire will lay down at night, with just a 20 to 40 degree drop in temperature, even though the flash point of wood is 572 degrees. This to me points to the significance of weather. I'm not a fire guy, so I don't really know. It seems like dead trees would make for more fierce fires. It takes longer for green stuff to catch, but when it does, it can really go up.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Aug 22, 2013 - 12:40pm PT
John M- You surmise correctly. Dry wood ignites a lot faster/easier than green wood.

Beetles seem to like old and mature trees. My ex and I formerly owned 160 acres that was entirely surrounded by National Forest, and the dead trees there (beetle kill) were predominantly "mature" Ponderosa pines and black pines. The younger trees were still mostly green and viable. We were engaged in cutting down the big dead ones on our property to clear space for a cabin, firewood, and fire control when we finally decided to sell the land. That acreage was burned to the ground last year. It saddens me to see the beautiful trees all turned to dust and ashes.

Edited 10:43 AM.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 22, 2013 - 04:54pm PT
A lot of Idaho burns most-every summer, however as Ron Anderson mentioned: The Big Burn of 1910 set the record:

The Great Fire of 1910 (also commonly referred to as the Big Blowup, the Big Burn, or the Devil's Broom fire) was a wildfire that burned about three million acres (12,140 km2, approximately the size of Connecticut) in northeast Washington, northern Idaho (the panhandle), and western Montana.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Fire_of_1910

That fire also set in motion the concept of complete forest-fire suppression that dominated Forest Service thinking until a few years back, when lower budgets and more fires helped to turn around almost 90 years of fighting forest fires with every resouce available.

One of the leading theories on complete fire suppression in the Northern Rockies was that Lodgepole Pine, which is a "fire-species" would be naturally replaced by longer lived non-fire species such as Douglas Fir & Spruce. That would gradually help to change an entire ecosystem from fire-oriented vegetation to wetter non-fire oriented vegetation.

It seemed to be working in some places. In the 1970's on the upper Middle Fork Salmon drainage, I could see it happening.

However, with current budgets for fire suppression and what appears to be a hotter and drier climate, most all of Idaho has burned in the last 15 years.

Here are Modis Satellite Fire Maps, showing in yellow areas that burned in the Upper Great Basin, I have areas burned for 2006 & 2007, then skip to 2010-to present. The 2007 photo is of West-Central Idaho, but the other photos show central & S. Idaho, eastern Nevada, most of Utah, and parts of SW Montana & Western Wyoming.

2006 fires.  Click to expand.
2006 fires. Click to expand.
Credit: Fritz

2007 West-central Idaho fires shown in grey.  Lowest fire burned a lar...
2007 West-central Idaho fires shown in grey. Lowest fire burned a large area just west of Sun Valley.
Credit: Fritz

2010 fires in yellow, click to expand
2010 fires in yellow, click to expand
Credit: Fritz

2011 fires
2011 fires
Credit: Fritz

2012 fires
2012 fires
Credit: Fritz
2013 fires to Aug 22.
2013 fires to Aug 22.
Credit: Fritz


Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 22, 2013 - 11:19pm PT

A historical note from my working for a Forest Service helicopter fire-crew based out of Hailey Idaho in the late 1960's. We had our Forest Service fire-retardant mixer, which we would climb up to with heavy bags of retardant to mix with water.

The fire-retardant was delivered by huge single-engine WWII surplus TBM Avenger torpedo bombers. The TBM Avenger is the largest single engine propeller driven airplane to operate from an aircraft carrier. During fire-fighing operations, they held up to 600 gallons of retardant. Photo below is a Forest Service file photo of a TBM Avenger.
Credit: Fritz
The planes had a huge rotary-engine which vibrated the air and ground like -------the flight-deck on a WWII Aircraft Carrier.


Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Aug 23, 2013 - 09:46am PT
Fritz-

Another popular ex-Navy airplane is the twin engine P2V Neptune Antisubmarine warfare patrol bomber. At the height of the 2012 fire season in Wyoming last August, there were 2 Neptunes and 2 DC-10s operating from KCPR (Casper) in the fire retardant dropping-role, in addition to several single engine Ag-cats and helicopters. The extreme dryness exacerbated the problem of lots of old growth and beetle killed timber in inaccessible terrain. There were at one time 3 separate fires burning in the Medicine Bow National Forest all at the same time, which spread the fire fighting resources pretty thin. A lot of economic benefit would have resulted from some selective timber harvesting: fewer burned cabins and cremated wildlife, in addition to the revenue accrued to the FS from timber sales.
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Aug 26, 2013 - 01:26pm PT
Fritz: Thanks much for the good wishes. We live in East Fork and on the 15th I watched the Greenhorn burn for a few hours before packing a few irreplaceables up in time to be pre-evacuated. I stashed the priceless things with a friend in a safe zone and joined several other Wood River Valley homeless people for a few days of climbing at the City. Climbing was good and it's amazing how simple life can be without all that 'stuff' in the house. We're in Bozeman but will be back in East Fork this week and if you're going to the city this weekend let me know. Happy Anniversary! Yeti
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