Fire crews prepare for possible lightning starts, fire escapes

Crews on the Columbus Fire in the South Umpqua Fire area are preparing to attack any lightning fires that are started overnight.

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 9:34 PM
Updated: Aug 15, 2018 9:36 PM

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. -- With thunderstorms in the Cascades, fire crews are having to take extra precautions to prevent more fires starting.

Fire crews have already created containment lines on the western side of the Columbus Fire in an effort to protect some historic log cabins.

However, Fire Crew Division Trainee Vince Deshazer said forest crews decided preventative measures had to be taken.

“We’ll come in with structure wrap and special tape as well, and get these as tight and enclosed as we can to prevent any embers getting underneath the wrap itself to more or less burn down the structures,” Deshazer said.

With lightning possibly entering the area overnight, the possibility of more fires, or current fires spreading, is something crews have had to prepare for.

“There is a chance of dry lightning coming through the area tonight, so in this morning’s briefing we covered that fairly well and got our IA (Initial attack) resources staged around the fire as well to jump on anything that happens around our general area here,” Deshazer said. “As well as also working with the local forest district as well. With that, if anything comes up, we can provide assistance as needed.”

They’ve also mopped up areas 100-200 feet around the Columbus Fire, in hopes of keeping the fire from running along the ground.

“Usually in this timber fuel model, we’ll shoot for that 60 to 100 feet in, is a good round-about length that we’ll try to get in there and mop up,” Deshazer said. “But, it will take areas that we need to go in further due to slope and how fire could run up that as well.”

An initial attack crew will be staged in the area throughout the night in case a fire were to start or escape containment when those forecasted thunder cells move through.

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