Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Roger Dey

Fields Gulch Fire nearing full containment, in patrol status


Last updated 8/19/2020 at 11:25am

Roger Dey

The Fields Gulch Fire Aug. 7, shortly after it began.

The Fields Gulch Fire six miles south of Lincoln went into "patrol status" at the end of last week, with firefighters from the Lincoln Ranger District Initial Attack crew mopping up hotspots and cold-trailing fireline over the weekend.

Lincoln Ranger District Fire Management Officer said the fire's containment was rated at about 80 percent Monday.

"The weekend was real calm, no change with the fire," he said, adding that firefighters are being especially watchful as they walk the perimeter, given the heavy fuel load in the area. "A big part of it is just doing due diligence, making sure it's dead out."

Kurtz said they are prepared for the possibility of new starts this week, with warm weather and the potential for thunderstorms and dry lightning through the end of the week.

"We're staffing late and have our IA crews on standby," he said.

Firefighting efforts held the Fields Gulch Fire to just five acres over the last week. Air support hit the fire hard during the first three days, with retardant drops from single engine air tankers and water drops from Type 1 and 2 helicopters. Air support continued through Aug. 12, with a smaller Type 3 helicopter.

Fire crews and heavy equipment, including two feller bunchers, began making their way to the fire area from the 1829 Road near Dalton Mountain Aug. 9.

Due to the firefighting operation, and out of concern for public safety, the Forest Service issued a closure order on the road Aug. 13 that is still in effect.

Throughout the last week, three water tenders, including one from the Lincoln Rural Fire District, helped keep water supplied to the three fire engines working on the fire.

Crews assign to Fields Gulch include the Flagstaff Hotshots, which was replaced by the Lewis and Clark Hotshots Aug. 10, the Willamette Type 2 initial attack crew and the Lincoln Ranger District IA Crew.

The Lewis and Clark Hotshots have since responded to a new fire start in the area of Wood Lake about 23 miles west of Augusta Monday. The fire is believed to be a holdover start from thunderstorms earlier this month.

The Lewis and Clark Hotshots came off Fields Gulch Fire Aug. 13, but had remained in the Lincoln area. The Willamette Crew came off the fire Aug. 14 and as of Monday the fire was being handled solely by Lincoln Ranger District assets.


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