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Local Staff Ride Archive

Stand 2 - Log Crossing and Lunch Spot

The Northwest Regular Crew #6 and the District FMO arrived at the fire just after 09:00 and the leaders met with the Entiat Superintendent. The FMO told Northwest Regular's Crew Boss Ellreese Daniels and Crew Boss Trainee Pete Kampen that the spot weather forecast that was issued the evening before for the 1,000 acres Libby South Fire (located 50 miles south of Thirtymile Fire) had indicated low relative humidity, high temperatures, a wind event predicted greater than 10 m.p.h., and that the "fuel type was a trigger for fire behavior."

The Entiat Hotshots provided a GPS map of the hotspots. Mostly the fire was still a batch of spots at this time. The Hotshots showed the Regulars the log they had used for crossing the river. All overhead present agreed that the priority this morning should be given to two spot fires on the east side of the river. The FMO told the Regulars that they could expect support from Helicopter 13N for bucket work.

Crew Boss Daniels took over as IC with Kampen running the crew. The FMO said there were two local engines that could be available and two pumps with plenty of hose and hardware were already delivered to the fire. The Entiat Hotshots departed to get some much-needed rest.

The Crew Boss Trainee directed the crew to set up the pumps and cross the log to the east side of the river. At about 11:00 they had water to the fire and were digging line around it. By noon the crew was having equipment problems. They couldn't keep the two pumps running and had broken four pulaski's during line construction. An increase in fire activity and lack of progress caused the Crew Boss Trainee to reassess his tactics and make some changes. He decided to send the crew to pinch the head of the fire. He called the pump operator away to dig line. Line construction was difficult with a lot of roots. Some crewmembers realized that digging line in front of the fire was a "watch out" situation.

At 12:08 the IC requested that helicopter 13N be launched, and 20 minutes later ordered additional crews from dispatch. He considered it unusual for green foliage to be burning as it was this early in the summer. In response to the IC's request for additional crews, the Entiat Hotshots returned to the fire at 14:00, after only 2 hours of rest.

At 14:00 the IC pulled the crewmember who had been serving as lookout off of her post. The fire behavior had further intensified and he had realized that she would have poor access to the escape route. She was reassigned back to her squad. At this time it was decided that Air Attack would become the lookout for the Thirtymile Fire.

At 14:27 Air Attack requested two engines. Engines #701 and #704 were dispatched to the fire. The supervisor of Engine #701 informed Engine #704 and three firefighters in a chase vehicle that their assignment was to keep the fire east of the road as per dispatch directions. At 14:38 helicopter 13N departed for the fire and began making water drops on small spots at the south edge of the fire.

At 15:00 the Northwest Regular #6 Crew pulled back to the lunch spot. There they joined the Entiat Hotshots, and everyone ate lunch, rested, watered, and sharpened their tools. At about this same time, the District AFMO arrived on scene to speak with the IC about whether or not he was still comfortable with the IC role. Crew Boss Daniels said that he was comfortable, and remained the IC. At this time the tanker Air Attack ordered a half hour earlier showed up over the fire. The IC ordered 2 more tankers. Between tankers running out of time and the fire growing too large for them to be effective, only a couple loads of retardant were ever dropped.

Air Attack reported at 15:20 that the fire had reached about 50 acres, was crowning, and headed for the eastern ridge. Within 15 minutes the fire grew to 100 acres and had nearly hit the ridge top.

Click to see copy of Entiat Hotshot's briefing map showing spot fire locations

Click to hear interview excerpts from Marshall Brown, the Entiat Hotshot Crew Superintendent
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The log near the Lunch Spot where crews crossed the Chewuch River. This is also the site where pump operations were set up

Fire behavior on east side of Chewuch River during early afternoon hours on July 10, 2001.

Entiat Hotshot Crew at the Lunch Spot after returning to the fire at approximately 14:00 hours on July 10, 2001. Note fire behavior on east side of Chewuch River.