Firefighters Utilize Innovative Tactics to Help Control Flat Fire

In the battle against the Flat Fire in the southwest region, firefighters have employed creative strategies to contain and control the blaze. Unstaffed Aerial Systems (UAS/drones) were utilized in the southwest corner of the fire area for aerial ignitions, successfully increasing the burnout to approximately 200 feet interior from the fire line.

Adding to the effort, helicopters used a Plastic Spherical Dispenser (PSD) to conduct aerial firing operations further interior, effectively guiding the main fire southwest towards the prepared fire line. This approach has allowed firefighters to move the main fire under more favorable and controlled conditions, minimizing risks.

The complex nature of the fire area, characterized by varying vegetation mosaics of brush, grass, and timber, has led to differing rates of fuel consumption. To further secure the region, a burn-out operation was carried out along the dozer line heading east from Game Lake, creating a buffer of about 150 feet interior to the main unburned area.

In addition to safeguarding the fire line, structure protection resources have been actively scouting for homes and buildings within the vicinity of the Flat Fire. Collected data will assist firefighters in protecting these structures if the need arises in the future.

Continuing their efforts, firefighters plan to achieve additional fireline depth between the western and eastern portions of FSR 3680 in the southwestern corner of the fire using aerial resources. Aerial interior burning will also commence in the Game Lake area, enhancing containment measures.

Preparation work along the western containment lines includes fuels removal from vegetation cut, contributing to the overall fire control strategy. Meanwhile, the northern containment line from Wildhorse Lookout east to FSR 3577 is currently undergoing active mopping up and patrolling.

Anticipating potential changes in weather conditions and fire activity, the northeastern corner of the fire area, using FSR 2308 and 150, has been thoroughly prepared for firing operations if deemed necessary.

As the fire continues to impact Bear Camp Road, all motorists are urged to exercise caution by slowing down, using headlights, and proceeding with vigilance.

Signs of progress have led to the release of resources no longer needed for suppression efforts. These individuals will now return home, rest, and be on standby for future assignments, as the remaining fire season unfolds.

As of July 31, all remaining evacuation levels have been reduced to Level 1, “Get Ready,” for all areas in the vicinity of the Flat Fire. The Curry County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work closely with the Fire Incident Management Team and promptly notify residents of any changes in evacuation levels.

Weather conditions today are expected to be slightly warmer, with temperatures rising up to 3-5 degrees, and lower relative humidity by 3-5%. This makes it potentially the warmest day experienced so far in the firefighting efforts.

In response to the ongoing fire activity, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has issued a closure order for the fire area, which includes trails, roads, and a portion of the Illinois River. Several campgrounds and recreation rentals, including Oak Flat Campground, Game Lake Campground, Wild Horse Campground, and Snow Camp Lookout Recreation Rentals, are currently closed due to the area closure.

The Chetco River Road (FSR 1376) and Chetco/Pistol River Road (FSR 1407) have also been closed as part of the updated safety measures. However, the Big Rock swimming hole on the Illinois River remains accessible to the public.

Despite the challenges, the collective efforts of firefighters and emergency management personnel have made significant progress in controlling the Flat Fire, providing hope for a safer and more secure environment in the days to come.

You can track this fire through our 2023 Wildfire Season partner’s Wildfire Aware app.

Source: RRNF

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