14 July 2016

Hayden Pass Fire Update

Hayden Pass Fire Update

(I know everyone has been waiting with bated breath for an update to Tuesday's post so here goes.)

O yay! We're Number One!
The Hayden Pass Fire is the number one priority forest fire in the United States. That's a dubious distinction, not one anyone wants.

Here's a map of the area that is affected:
My cabin is a little to the left and a little above the D in "Div A".

The fire can be seen from space. 
Astronaut Jeff Williams took this pic:

FROM SPACE!!! I think I see my cabin there. Eek. 

Monday afternoon the fire looked like this from my main road so I freaked and drove to Denver.

Fortunately when I returned Tuesday evening, things had settled down a bit. At least the smoke had. 
And the fire had not spread beyond a couple hundred acres. All good news.

This morning the sky looked like this:

Forest fires are like recalcitrant teenagers that have been sent to their room for the night. You think they are in there asleep but truthfully they are on their cell phone, texting up a storm, plotting with their friends on how to get back at you the next day.  The fire "lays down" at night (doesn't that sound sweet?) and then roars back to life about lunch time the next day. (again, like a teenager-neither one gets up early.)

So I went into town and I thought I would show you your tax dollars at work. 

As I come into Salida there is "fire camp" .

This is where the big trucks are stationed, equipment, people... and apparently the extra PortAPotties...all at the US Forest Service building. 

Some of the firefighters are sleeping in those tents, others are here:

Camping at the practice field of the high school. 

These guys bust their butts and then they have to go back to tents?? Poor babies. 
But from what I am told they eat VERY well. That's good. 

On the way back home, we have a news truck on Highway 50 from one of the TV stations along with a sign warning about poor (smoky) visibility in the canyon.

In my little bitty town there is the media staging area. 

It is at the Howard Volunteer Fire Department. They are feeding the people that have been evacuated three meals a  day. If you feel like doing something really nice, send them a donation. They could use it. 
Here's their GoFundMe link:    https://www.gofundme.com/haydenpassfire

Overhead the helicopters whump whump whump, carrying their giant orange buckets full  of water.  The helicopters scoop water out of ponds and then dump them on the fire.

I think it is really cool to see them. Carlos thinks they are terrifying.

There are seven helicopters and at least one air tanker.

Bulldozers are used to create fire lines, hopefully stopping the fire by making a break in the available fuel.  We are under the supervision of a Type 2 Incident Management team.  There are hot shot crews involved....the elite of the forest fire fighters. There are baby hot shot crews also- the hot shot wanna-bes.  Four different divisions are attacking this fire from three different sides. The backside is in forest land and not easily accessible. 

But you know what? We are very very grateful for the work of the firefighters. 
See? There's a sign on the highway thanking them...

Keep up the good work. 

Hayden Pass Fire by the numbers as of Thursday afternoon:

•The fire covers 14,788 acres. That's about 23 square miles that are burning. My cabin is about 5 miles from the fire. The fire was first visible on Sunday, quickly grew to 5000 acres and now has almost tripled in 4 days.  Do the math, this fire is traveling. Fortunately, not towards me. Yet.

•There are 442 people fighting the fire. Not a lot of people for 14,788 acres.

• NO structures or lives have been lost so far. Let's hope it stays that way.

•Estimated date for having this fire completely under control and out?  About October 1, 2016 or around the first snow fall.  Most of what is burning is wilderness area which cannot be reached. The firefighters are focusing on protecting property, livestock and lives. For now, the wilderness can burn. Not much else can be done.

•O! The best part? The fire is ZERO PERCENT CONTAINED as of right now. Zero. Which means while I feel very safe, I also realize that 6 or 7 miles is NOTHING if the wind changes direction.

Practicing my S'Mores recipes just in case!

(Fire numbers and map from Inciweb... a really cool website if you like to follow forest fires.)

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