National Creek Fires Winding Down
UPDATE: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 9:30 A.M. ... Rain and continued mild weather has allowed firefighters to begin wrapping up the National Creek fires near Crater Lake.
All highways remain open, Crater Lake National Park is open and the Pacific Crest trail is conditionally open.
A Type 3 fire management team has replaced the Type 2 team that's managed the fire so far. That indicates the fire is now smaller and is winding down.
The National Creek Complex has burned 15,458 acres and is 70 percent contained.
The fire perimeter is contained on west, north, and east flanks. The fire is partially contained on south flank by using tactics designed to cause minimum disruption to the natural systems of the forest. A large interior area is likely to continue creeping-to-moderate fire behavior.
Crews will patrol along north, east, and west flanks. Suppression rehab will also start on the south flank.
The remaining crews are mostly involved in mop-up or rehab activities. The goal of wildfire rehab (rehabilitation) is to minimize damage caused by suppression efforts. Rehab activities may include removing berms from dozer line, providing drainage and moving downed vegetation.
ORIGINAL POST: THURSDAY, AUGUST 28
Crater Lake National Park remains open and State Highways 230 and 138 are open again, despite the ongoing fires that continue to cast a pall of smoke over the region.
The National Creek Complex -- burning since August 1 in the northwest corner of Crater Lake National Park and the north portion of the High Cascade Ranger District on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest -- now totals 13,211 acres and stand at 40 percent containment.
On Thursday, the fires were active, with short crown runs, group torching and backing into draws.
Interior pockets have been the most active areas on the fire. Occasional short runs as wind and topography align occurred Thursday afternoon cleaning up unburned fuel.
The perimeter of the fire on the unckecked lines (west, south and southeast) are mostly backing and creeping spread, with some single tree torching and short range spotting.
The inversion lifted in the early afternoon. As the atmosphere became unstable small smoke plumes could be seen around the perimeter of the fire.
There is a lot of heat on the fire. Fire behavior was mild to moderate.
Today, crews will patrol and mop up along north and east flanks. They'll continue to complete direct line on the west flank from National Creek north to Hwy 230 and from National Creek east. They'll also ontinue to scout for opportunities to construct direct line on the south flank.
Perimeter growth on unchecked lines will continue to slowly spread,mostly backing fire on the west/southwest and creeping with some single tree torching and sort range spotting on the eastern perimeter. The timbered buttes and ridges that lay in the middle of the Park side of the fire will continue to have active fire in the afternoons as the wind aligns with the heavier fuels on the slopes.
Smoke columns are likely to develop around mid afternoon. These are internal, but visible. Possible spotting across the highway is a concern. Good overnight recovery and lower temperatures will help keep any spots small.
There were slightly cooler temperatures over the fire Thursday, at 77 degrees. Clouds increased to mostly cloudy. Winds were 8-14 mph range with gusts to 15 mph.
Gusty ridgetop winds of up to 30 mph will continue through Saturday. There is a 60 percent chance of widespread wetting rains up to 1/2 inch late Friday into Saturday. Cool and moist conditions are expected through the middle of next week with a slight chance of showers Sunday and again on Tuesday.