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Local Staff Ride Archive

Stand 2 - The Cattle Guard

Stand 2 is located at the BLM land ownership boundary. The mixed mountain shrub fuel type you see is representative of what the area looked like in 1976. The dominate brush was Gambel's oak, mountain mahogany, serviceberry, and snowberry. The Gambel's oak was 10-12 feet tall.

The remnant dozer line you see was constructed on Friday the 16th, as part of the overall strategy to impede the fires southerly progress and protect the Rulison blast site. The dozer operations were completed around 1600. At this time, fire activity in the bowl to the north (16th Bowl) was extreme. The fire made a run from Battlement Creek Road to the ridgeline, generating two large fire whirls.

The Mormon Lake Hotshot Crew and Happy Jack Hotshot Crew began burning out the dozer line around 1615 and reached the road about 2030. The burnout was 60 feet wide with some deeper pockets and continued downhill. There were no spot fires south of the line.

As night fell, crews attempted to continue the firing along the road to the north, it did not carry as well. The burnout on the road was primarily a ground fire and left a considerable amount of unburned fuel in the Gambel's oak. Both crews reached fire camp around 0100 to get some sleep prior to the morning briefing to be held a few hours later.

Looking upslope from the cattle guard. Note how much of the old dozer line is still visible.

View of the fatality sites, 17th bowl, saddle, and ridgeline from the dozer line. Note the steepness of the terrain across the face of the bowl. The bare area in the center was caused by erosion after the fire.