Firefighters gaining the upper hand on the Bar Fire
8/5/20109:00 a.m. Update Cooler weather and well executed firefighting tactics have helped firefighters turn the corner on the Bar Fire in the Plumas National Forest. While the percent contained (60%) and acreage (992) have not changed since yesterday, the fire's growth potential is low. General fire behavior includes smoldering and creeping around rocks with occasional flare-ups from isolated islands of vegetation. The majority of yesterday's smoke is due to creeping fire in a patch of timber on the northern perimeter of the fire. All control lines have held and firefighters are mopping up and expanding lines to 100'. Some crews and helicopters are being released. CA State Highway 70 is open and all recreation areas are open. Acreage estimates will be revised later in the day or tomorrow. 8/4/201010:00 a.m. Update Bar Fire is now 60% contained while more accurate mapping shows the size of the fire to be 992 acres. All control lines are holding. Highway 70 will be single lane, controlled traffic for several hours later this morning into the early afternoon as firefighters secure line on parts of the eastern flank of the fire.
Burnout operations and interior burning the past two days have produced large amounts of smoke that drift over Plumas and Lassen Counties in the afternoon and evenings and then settle and move down hill at night. Fire behavior will be characterized by backing, surface fire although isolated pockets of vegetation may occasionally flare-up. This should produce far less smoke than has been evident since the fire started on Saturday. The extremely steep and rocky terrain couple with very low humidity and strong winds have made this a very challenging fire to fight. The firefighters of the Plumas National Forest devised an effective strategy, and attacked this fire aggressively . Although there remains much work to be done, they deserve a congratulations for their successful effort thus far.
All campgrounds and trails remain open in the Feather River Canyon, including the Pacific Crest Trail.
Three hundred people are assigned to the fire assisted by helicopters, engines, dozers and watertenders.
Excellent progress has been made on the Bar Fire today as firefighters utilized helicopters and an aerial ignition process to burn out an inaccessible chunk in the center of the fire area. Along with continued work to mop-up the northern perimeter of the fire and hose-lays on portions of the east and west flanks of the fire, the strategic burn-out has given fire managers increased confidence that the Feather River Canyon fire will be successfully contained this week.8/3/20108:00 a.m. Update
Yesterdays burnout operations were very successful according to Plumas Fire Chief Alan Setzer and Mt Hough Division Chief Larry Craggs. The burnout operations took place above the fire on the northwest flank along Red Hill Road. Firelines along the west flank are secure and holding. Highway 70 is the south flank of the fire and is secured. The burned area from the 2008 Rich Fire will become the east flank.Currently the fire is burning within this perimeter and has not yet reached the area burned out at the top of the slope or the old burn along the east flank. More active burning can be expected today as the main fire burns towards these containment perimeters.
When asked about yesterdays humidity of only 12 percent, Division Chief Craggs commented in jest that "it is so dry out there that even the rocks are burning".8/2/20105:30 p.m. Update
The Bar Fire is now reported by the Plumas National Forest fire information team to be 900 acres. This is more than twice the final fire size that was projected this morning. Additional ground and air resources were added to the fire in the afternoon. Agency personnel confirm that despite the larger than expected increase in the fire size, the burn-out operations are proceeding as planned.The fire is spreading to the east while the west flank remains contained. Spreading to the east has carried the fire into thearea burned in the Rich Fire a couple years ago. Because of the recent burn, fuels are very sparse in this area and its not unreasonable to assume the fire will burn itself out in this old fire scar.
8/2/20102:00 p.m. Update
Crews on the Bar Fire are burning out unburned portions within the fire and adjacent to the fire lines. Eliminating these unburned fuels is necessary to secure the firelines.
The burnout operations are creating a smoke column visible in nearby communities and adding lots of smoke in the Feather River canyon. Even though the smoke may look ominous, all fire reported to be within containment boundaries. The fire is now 500 acres.
The fire has started to burn into portions of the old Rich Fire area and will continue a similar pattern of spread today. The old burn area is acting as a very effective fire break. Residents in Feather River Canyon, Quincy, Meadow Valley, Indian Valley, Lake Almanor Baisn, Westwood, Susanville, will see smoke in the afternoon as the fire burns into pockets of vegetation on the rocky hillsides. It is expected to burn a total of 400 acres before it is fully contained. Highway 70 remains open. 8/1/20109:00 p.m. Update
Highway 70 is now open in both directions. The fire is reported to be 150 acres. While there was some active burning this afternoon, the growth of the fire was held in check by aggressive use of ground and aerial firefighting resources.8/1/20109:30 a.m. Update Highway 70 is now open to one way controlled traffic between Jarbo Gap in Butte County and the Highway 70 and Highway 89 junction in Plumas County. Expect delays.
8/1/20106:15 a.m. Update
At 2 PM yesterday, Plumas National Forest fire crews were dispatched to the Bar Fire. The fire is located in the Feather River Canyon, in Plumas County approximately 4 miles east of the town of Belden. It is burning on the north side of the highway on Red Hill and threatening numerous communication facilities on the top of Red Hill.
The fire is estimated to be around 100 acres and is burning in steep terrain. The fire is only 10% contained. Multiple resources have been assigned to the fire including 9 engines, 10 Smoke Jumpers and multiple aircraft. Highway 70 from the junction of Highway 89 (Greenville "Wye") to one mile west of Jarbo Gap in Butte County has been closed to non-emergency traffic. The cause of the fire is unknown and is currently under investigation.
For the most current Highway Conditions click on the "Highways Conditions" link in the lower left portion of the Plumasnews.com homepage.7/31/20109:30 p.m. Update: The Bar Fire is reported to be 120 acres (estimating fire size at night in such steep terrain is very difficult and the acerage may vary significantly.) The Fire is approximately 4 miles east of Belden. Several "Type 1" hotshot crews are working the fire. These are the more experiencienced had crews that are need to work a fire in such difficult terrain. As of 9:30, Highway 70 remains closed to non-emergency traffic from Jarbo Gap in Butte County to the junction of Highways 70 and 89 in Plumas County.
3:30 P.M. There is a new fire in the Feather River Canyon near Rich Bar. Highway 70 is currently closed in both directions.
The Forest Service is initiating a "heavy" dispatch which involves sending numerous ground and air resources to the fire. Initial reports are that the fire is approximately 100 acres and on the south side of the Highway burning up towards the Buck Lake Wilderness. This is very steep and inaccessible terrain for the most part. So Far 7 engines, several hand cfews and numerous aircraft have been dispatched to the fire.
The weather forecast for this afternoon is calling for hot dry, and very windy conditions which will make catching this fire extremely difficult.