Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lodgepole Fire in Challis Area

(Update @ 4 pm, 07.24.13)
We have been unable to update this website since Monday evening.  All of our coverage is on Facebook.  We have posted perhaps 200 postings and added commentary since Sunday. We have nearly 1,000 Facebook Friends following our fire coverage.  The coverage there is as current as we can possibly make it.  Unfortunately, there's only so many hours in a day and there's simply no time to update this website AND do the Facebook.

here are the hours we have logged covering the fires since they began:

Saturday: 6
Sunday: 10
Monday: 12
Tuesday: 11
So far Wednesday: 7

There is simply no time to come here and update this website.  We will try to place some sort of a summary here not and there but, in the meantime, if you are interested in what's happening with teh fires, come to this Facebook:

Thank You, John Parsons

(Update @ 9 pm 07.21.13)
This is The Lodgepole Fire at 8:15 pm Monday.

(Update @ 2 pm 07.22.13)
Photo by Steve Cobbley.

The Lodgepole Fire Camp is using virtually all of the new Challis Community Event Center for Adell's Type 2 IMT.  Food service and other logistics are set up in the Event Center's large parking lot.  The crew tent area is located in the nearby ballfields between City Park and the Event Center.  The Custer County Extension Office remains open and some parking has been reserved outside for visitor to the Extension Office.

Very little new information has been posted to the fire's Inciweb page.  It is quite likely that the first grew to approx. 1,000 acres yesterday based on an interpolation of the official fire perimeter map shown below.  A road and trail closure was issues about 11 am Monday.  There are 111 personnel reported on the fire and knowledgeable observers think many more are enroute.

Meanwhile, two military C-130 air tankers were deployed to the Boise air tanker base.  One is known as MAFFS 1 from the Wyoming National Guard and the other is MAFFS 8 from the North Caroline National Guard.  They have been flying retardant drops on The Lodgepole since their arrival Saturday and are active again today.  Numerous sightings were reported regarding the VLAT DC-10 Sunday.
The Lodgepole Fire Sunday afternoon.  Note Mosquito Flats Reservoir at right.
Citizen photos on Facebook so far today indicate the fire may be more active than yesterday.  The NWS says winds might reach 30 mph on the ridge tops.  We are awaiting a call back or email reply from the fire PIO for more information regarding many aspects of The Lodgepole Fire's management.
This is NOT a photo of the VLAT over Custer County.  It just shows the VLAT in action.

Update @ 10 pm 07.21.13)
Adell's Type 2 Team is getting settled into their fire camp at and near the Challis Community Center.  Julie Thomas is the Public Information Officer (PIO) for The Lodgepole Fire.  She told us in two emails, "I am just getting in place, building a Facebook page, we will also continue to use Inciweb.  Stay tuned for additional information as the team gets in place. We will do our best to provide timely information to you.  Give us time to get in place and hopefully we will serve you well."  Ms. Thomas is the PIO for The Sawtooth National Forest in Twin Falls.

The Big News is that Ms. Thomas confirmed the VLAT (VLAT = Very Large Air Tanker) DC-10 jetliner is being used to fight The Lodgepole Fire.  We have had several reports of the big jet overhead today and, yes, those reports are true.  Unfortunately, we do not yet have any photos of the VLAT in action in Custer County.

We did find two YouTube videos of the VLAT in action else where.  For those who think a DC-10 can't navigate mountain terrain, this video's for you:

If the video won't play, try this link:
-----------end of update-------------
(Update @ 2 pm 07.21.13)
The CCSO Dispatcher told us The Lodgepole Fire camp is apparently being set up at the Challis Rodeo Grounds. No word yet on the location of the Bradley Fire camp near Stanley.

Pocatello NWS Observations page shows rather calm conditions in the Challis vicinity. Stanley wind has gusted to 17 mph so far today. Winds are gusting into the 20's on the Snake Plain. Pocatello NWS thinks Stanley-Challis area ridge tops might see wind in the 30 mph range.

The Lodgepole Fie Type 2 Team is scheduled to take over mgmt. of the fire at 5 pm today. Still no word on location of the fire camp. Both fires are now on Inciweb.


Note that Inciweb says the Bradley has burned 60 acres, not 250 as some early reports indicated.

Inciweb says there are 66 people on the Lodgepole Fire and 55 on the Bradley.

(Update @ 9 am 07.21.13)
 Here's 3 photos by "The Lucky Shoe Photography" taken yesterday of The Lodgepole Fire.  The photographer also capture at least three different types of aerial assets in action including what appeared to be a Sikorsky CH54/S64 Type 1 helicopter.  The contract rates for such a craft are nearly $8,000 an hour.  The photographer also captured a photo of a four-engine slurry bomber, presumably based out of Boise.

Marty Adell is the Incident Commander of the Type 2 Incident Mgmt. Team arriving today to begin managing The Lodgepole Fire. Adell's Team 7 is part of the Eastern Great Basin Geographic Coordinating Center based out of Salt Lake City. The link shows the current roster for Adell's Team.

Here is the link to the EGBCC:

As of 8 am Sunday, neither The Lodgepole Fire nor the Bradley Fire are listed on Inciweb, although they are mentioned in connection with the Papoose Fire burning near The Middle Fork. We will probably have to wait until Adell's Type 2 Team is set up and functioning for The Lodgepole to show up on Inciweb.

If anyone in the Challis area observes where Fire Camp is being set up, please post the information on Facebook. Likewise, if anyone is interested in trying to get the contact phone number for the Team's PIO, we'd sure appreciate having it.

The Morning Press--"The Post-Register" in Idaho Falls ran a fairly lengthy article on Page A5 about The Bradley, Lodgepole and Papoose Fires this morning--28 column inches including the large, 3-line headline that states, "Boy Scout camp evacuated after wildfire erupts."

The subhead for the article might give a misleading impression as it states "Campgrounds in Custer County were cleared out late Saturday." As we learned last year with The Halstead Fire, metro area readers tend to take such headlines literally and it would be no surprise if some readers think that means all campgrounds in Custer County as apposed to the two or three that were actually evacuated.

The story quotes USFS spokesman Mike McMillan as saying, "A Type-3 incident commander and smokejumpers were ordered for the fire" and are expected to arrive Sunday morning.

The story notes the Bradley Fire "burned an estimated 250 acres." This morning's federal website lists a figure of 50 acres for the Bradley Fire. This appears to be a correction from the 250 listed yesterday.

A cause has not been listed for either The Lodgepole or Bradley Fires. Deputy Mike Talbot of the Custer County Sheriff's Office is quoted in the article stating about the Bradley Fire, "No injuries were reported and no structures were lost.

"The Post-Register" also stated "A Type 5 team would be deployed only to the largest and most complex wildland fires" when in fact the opposite is true. Type 1 Teams and NIMO Teams are assigned to the top priority fires. See:
 Above the red "X" marks Camp Bradley and the yellow push pin is said to be the location of the fire.  Below, Camp Bradley is shown in a map from The Halstead Fire as a peninsula between burned areas.

 The Lodgepole Fire appeara to be to the west o Mosquito Flats Reservoir.
 The red "X" marks Mosquito Reservoir and the yellow push pin marks the apparent site of The Lodgepole Fire.
 Here's another view of the topography of The Lodgepole Fire.
-------------end of update-----------
(Originally posted Saturday evening) Reports and photos began showing up on Facebook this afternoon from Challis area residents.  At this time, we do not have any facts--other than the photos below.  Unconfirmed reports on Facebook indicate the fire is apparently near Mosquito Flats Reservoir and that the Mosquito Flats campground has been evacuated.  Another unconfirmed report indicated federal aerial resources have already been attacking the fire.  We will do our best to attempt to get some facts on this fire as soon as possible.  Our most current reporting will be on our Facebook here:

Below are the photos we have shared on our Facebook.  We are posting the most recent photo first here.  The oldest photo is at the bottom.