Burnouts continue on Spring Creek Fire | PostIndependent.com

Burnouts continue on Spring Creek Fire

The Spring Creek Fire north of New Castle increased in size since Thursday because of burnouts rather than uncontrolled fire spread.

The burnouts brought the fire size up to 9,300 acres Thursday. It is now 57 percent contained.

While burnout efforts were stymied by rains mid-week, a drop in relative humidity allowed firefighters to begin burnout operations Thursday.

“The fire has been burning well with the drop in humidity,” said fire field observer Tony Simmons.

A total of 260 firefighters and support crew are working the fire. Seven helicopters, one engine, four dozers and two water tenders are also in use.

Joe Hartman’s incident management team turned over responsibility for the fire Thursday evening to a Forest Service Region 1 incident management team led by Bill Swope.

Within the fire perimeter, single trees continue to spot burn and fire has made a few short runs from them.

“When these things flare up, it’s like popcorn with the lid off,” said fire crew operations section chief Jim Dunn. “They go snap, crackle and pop. With wind, sparks blow some distance away.”

But objectives for containment are being met, Dunn said.

“We want 400 feet of black adjacent to the fire line,” Dunn said. “Achieving this will reduce the chance of spread.”

Black or unburned areas are created by burnouts, setting fire to unburned fuel in the path of the fire to arrest its progress.

Mop-up and patrol continue on the west and northwest flanks of the fire. Burnout efforts will continue on the east, northeast and southeast sides of the fire. Large columns of smoke will be visible from the burnouts.

Weather conditions remain hot and dry with a slight chance of thunderstorm buildups in the afternoons.

A Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation began a helicopter reconnaissance of the fire Thursday.

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