FIRE UPDATE FROM NORTH MANAGEMENT TEAM AND BLFD CHIEF
Bucks Lake Residents and Visitors,
As we approach Labor Day weekend, I know that we are ready to celebrate our contributions to the American work force, while spending time with our family and friends. Recent wildfires in our area have now been with us for over two weeks, and we are all ready to get this event behind us. Firefighters have done an outstanding job with the limited resources they’ve had to date. I appreciate your support of their efforts, but also understand your concerns with how long it is taking to get containment on the Bear Fire.
I can assure you that the North Complex Incident Management Team is working day and night to suppress all fires of the North Complex including Bear, Claremont, and Sheep Fires. Resources – both fire crews and equipment – have been limited due to the numbers of fires occurring in the state and across the West. Over the past week though, resources have built up, and you have likely seen them prepping defenses for structures in our community. Both the Sheep and Claremont Fires are making significant gains in containment, and because of that, a large amount of resources have made their way to our area over the past several days. So, you have likely seen the extra engines, fire fighters, and aerial equipment defending our community and finding opportunity to attack the Bear where possible. This is a positive sign of potential gains in the days ahead.
Other than the limited resources, a major difference between the Bear Fire from the others, is that the fire’s perimeter is almost entirely in rugged terrain. Because of this landscape, along with the limited resources to date, firefighters have focused on ensuring the protection of our community and residential structures by building defensive indirect line. These will act as a solid line of defense should the Bear Fire spread out of the rugged hills and draws. As those lines are fortified, crews are looking for opportunities to get closer so they can attack the fire head on. Yesterday was a good example of that as we saw helicopters drop 15,000 gallons of retardant as the fire pushed toward Hose Mine in the Willow Creek drainage to prevent further spread. Containment cannot be claimed though without line directly against the edge of the fire. We are seeing today that crews have made containment progress at 10%. They have a ways to go, but progress is being seen.
The number one priority for any wildfire fight is the safety of the public and firefighters as well as protection of the communities. Please help me support the North Complex Incident Management Team by showing appreciation for the hard work they do to protect our community and continue to have patience as this battle with the fire progresses.
Jeff Iversen, Bucks Lake Fire Chief