Hot Shots camp out at fire’s hot spots
Hot shot crews tackled hot spots and built fire line on the north and northeastern areas of the Coal Seam Fire Sunday.
Two temporary or spike camps of about 40 firefighters were established in the northeast portion of the fire to build fire line and douse hot spots, said fire information officer Jim Dale, who is with the Tennessee Division of Forestry. They spent Saturday night at the scene to keep an eye on the fire burning around the headwaters of No Name Creek and Windy Point.
“That’s the ultimate in rough living, no electricity, no running water,” Dale said. “The safety officer issued a warning to be careful about discarding food because of bears.”
Fire engines continued to patrol Mitchell Creek and South Canyon Sunday.
The south side of the fire is now completely surrounded by fire line and was declared contained Saturday, Dale said.
The total area burned by the fire remains at 11,838. The price tag for the fire continued to climb Sunday, from $2.7 million to $3.1 million, Dale said.
Relatively light winds helped in the firefighting efforts Sunday.
“The winds were very calm for once. We didn’t have the high wind episodes like we’ve had for the past three or so days,” Dale said.
But isolated fires were still burning in stands of thick and partially dead spruce and fir, which are particularly hard to put out, Dale said.
Today, the incident command team will continue to map heat intensities of the fire to detect hot spots, Dale said.
Efforts will also be concentrated to backfire unburnt fuels, namely oakbrush, around the Glenwood Springs municipal water treatment plant and storage tanks on Red Mountain. But those efforts should not be cause for alarm if people see flames again on Red Mountain, he said.
The timing for that burn has not been set.
Sunday at the evening briefing, Dale said the incident command team looked at a plan to turn over the fire to another team by the end of the week.
“Before long we will be coming to the end of our rotation,” he said. Firefighting crews, including the incident command team, work 14 days on plus two travel days, then must take time off.
The current incident command team could turn management of the fire over to another Type I team, or to a Type II team made up of regional Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service personnel or a Type III team composed of local fire department staff.
But who will take over the fire will depend on how much of it has been contained by the end of the week, he said.
Sunday, locals had a chance to tour the large fire camp in Two Rivers Park. Dale said about 100 people showed up for four tours between 1 and 4 p.m. (See story, page 11.)
He also gave a tip of his hat to the many local volunteers who have stepped up to help.
“We as a fire management team can’t say enough about the spirit of volunteerism in this town,” he said. “It’s so encouraging to come into a place and have people behind you.”
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