Author Topic: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008  (Read 18490 times)

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Offline Wrightwood

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Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« on: Mar 05, 08, 10:14:23 PM »
USFS PRESCRIBED BURN FOR UPPER LYTLE CREEK CANYON TO BEGIN NEXT WEEK

In connection with the “Lone Pine Canyon Fuel Reduction Project”, the U. S. Forest Service has announced that it is going ahead with its plan to begin the prescribed burns of Units 4 and 5 (see map below – orange sections).  The burn is scheduled to begin approximately March 10TH, but is dependent upon the weather.

Unit 4 will be the first to be burned; it encompasses an area from Gobbler’s Knob to the Firing Line Shooting Range.  Unit 5 will begin only after Unit 4 has been completed; it is the area from the shooting range down to the water tank at Lytle Creek Road and Sycamore Road.  Both sections will be burned from the ridge line (shown as disc/plow line on map) down to Lytle Creek Road.   300 ft. fuel breaks have been created around the perimeter of each Unit.

At the beginning of each day until the prescribed burn is complete, the “Burn Boss” will evaluate whether it will be safe to burn that day.  A copy of the checklist is attached (Lone Pine Prescribed Burn Plan attachment).  The weather will be monitored at least hourly during the burn.     

There will be a lot of smoke because the brush is wet due to the recent rains.  The residents will smell smoke, especially at night.

The projected fire personnel on scene during the fire will include:  4 - 20 person hand crews, 2 water tenders, 1 helicopter, 1 bulldozer,  and 4 type 3 engines.  Additional resources available through partner fire agencies (CalFire, San Bernardino County Fire and Los Angeles County Fire) are:   7 engines, 3 – 20 person hand crews, and 1 helicopter (with water bucket).   Portable water tanks will be set up for use by the fire crews.   Fire hose will be laid along the edges of the fuel break in advance just in case the fire breaks the perimeter.  Fire crews will be evident.   

Lytle Creek Road will be closed at Sycamore Road.  The Forest Service will try to create a safe spot upcanyon for residents to watch the burn progress; check for information at the road closure.

For updates during the fire, please call the USFS Ranger Station at (909) 382-2851.  Gabe Garcia, Cajon District Ranger, will be providing updates during the fire.

This topic will provide updates.

Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #1 on: Mar 05, 08, 10:14:46 PM »

Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #2 on: Mar 12, 08, 11:30:49 AM »
The prescribed burns of Units 4 and 5 has been delayed for 1 week due to unstable weather.

Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #3 on: Mar 14, 08, 03:29:55 PM »
San Bernardino National Forest
March 14, 2008   
1209 Lytle Creek Road
Lytle Creek, CA 92358
For Immediate Release
Contact:
Pam Bierce (909) 382-2896
   
San Bernardino, CA- The Front Country Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest is planning to resume work on the Lone Pine Canyon fuels treatment project next week, utilizing both hand and helicopter burning operations. Fuels Battalion Chief Ken Kempter, stated that the project will continue contingent on weather conditions and resource availability.

The proposed plan is to widen the perimeters through hand burning of the fuel breaks around Units 4 & 5 next week, tentatively beginning on Monday, March 17, 2008. After these fuel breaks have been burned, helitorch burning of the interiors of Units 4 & 5 will be completed weather permitting.   

Signs will be posted along Lytle Creek and Lone Pine Canyon Roads with information personnel available at the fire kiosks in Lytle Creek, Wrightwood and on Highway 138. There are no anticipated main road closures, but there may be some traffic delays. There will be closures of the Forest Service roads in that area, including 2N56 (Sheep Creek Canyon Road), 3N29, 3N31 and 3N33. The Pacific Crest Trail will also be closed within the project area during the burning operations. The project will be staffed by fire personnel for 24 hours a day during burning and mop-up.

The Lone Pine Canyon Fuels Reduction project is an ongoing fuels treatment project that will decrease the threat of wildfire to the communities of Lytle Creek and Wrightwood.  For further information please call Pam Bierce, Public Information Officer, (909) 382-2896. 

Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #4 on: Mar 20, 08, 06:18:30 PM »
They may begin burning on the Lone Pine Project Monday 3-24-08.

Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #5 on: Mar 21, 08, 03:20:05 PM »
USFS PRESCRIBED BURN FOR UPPER LYTLE CREEK CANYON TO BEGIN MARCH 24TH

In connection with the “Lone Pine Canyon Fuel Reduction Project”, the U. S. Forest Service has announced that it is going ahead with its plan to begin the prescribed burns of Units 4 and 5.  The prescribed burn will begin on Monday, March 24th.

Unit 4 will be the first to be burned; it encompasses an area from Gobbler’s Knob to the Firing Line Shooting Range.  Unit 5 will begin only after Unit 4 has been completed; it is the area from the shooting range down to the water tank at Lytle Creek Road and Sycamore Road.  Both sections will be burned from the ridge line down to Lytle Creek Road.   300 ft. fuel breaks have been created around the perimeter of each Unit.

At the beginning of each day until the prescribed burn is complete, the “Burn Boss” will evaluate whether it will be safe to burn that day.  The weather will be monitored at least hourly during the burn.

There will be a lot of smoke because the brush is wet due to the recent rains.  The residents will smell smoke, especially at night.

The projected fire personnel on scene during the fire will include:  4 - 20 person hand crews, 2 water tenders, 1 helicopter, 1 bulldozer,  and 4 type 3 engines.  Additional resources available through partner fire agencies (CalFire, San Bernardino County Fire and Los Angeles County Fire) are:   7 engines, 3 – 20 person hand crews, and 1 helicopter (with water bucket).   Portable water tanks will be set up for use by the fire crews.   Fire hose will be laid along the edges of the fuel break in advance just in case the fire breaks the perimeter.  Fire crews will be evident.   

Lytle Creek Road will be closed at Sycamore Road.  The Forest Service will try to create a safe spot up-canyon for residents to watch the burn progress; check for the location at the information booth which at this time will be in the parking lot next to the Scotland Store.

Gabe Garcia, Cajon District Ranger, will be providing updates during the fire that will be posted in this topic.

Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #6 on: Mar 21, 08, 06:32:07 PM »
Notification of upcoming Lone Pine Burn

Friday, March 21, 2008 6:19 pm

On Friday, March 21, 2008, District Ranger Gabe Garcia, Deputy District Ranger Mary Long and SBNF Fire overhead reviewed and visited Lone Pine burn units 4 and 5 which are scheduled for prescribed fire beginning Monday, March 24, 2008.  We discussed tactics, conditions, resource availability, projected weather and feel we are ready to commence burning operation Monday morning, March 24.

We found the fuel moistures to be within the preferred range for burning.  Predicted weather will provide a perfect mix of temperature, moisture and wind.  A high pressure should bring clear and warmer weather through early next week with an upper level low causing clouds and cooling toward the middle of the week.  All necessary resources will be available from the various agencies for the burn.

With all the requirements being met and looking good, Gabe has signed the Agency Administrator Pre-Ignition Approval Checklist.  Plumbing on some of the fuel breaks will begin Saturday morning.  This will include fire hose and portable water tanks. 

The prescribed burn will begin with a test burn along the fuel break between units 4 and 5 at the intersection of forest roads 3N31 and 3N29.  If the test burn goes as expected we will proceed with hand firing operations, with the objective of widening the existing fuel breaks as we work our way toward Lytle Creek. We expect to be working around Lytle Creek as early as Tuesday or Wednesday morning.  Hand operations are expected to take three to five days with helicopter operations being used about a week later. Approximately 1400 acres are expected to be treated with a combination of hand and helicopter operations.

Information will be posted at the Scotland Store in Lytle Creek and the hardware store in Wrightwood.  Both of these sites will be staffed with a mix of community members and Forest Service Staff to answer questions.  We will again, as in 2006, post information onto the web to include our daily reports and blogs from the line.  Blogs will give current conditions such as weather, updates on progress and real time information of significant smoke plumes heading toward communities. (http://tinyurl.com/3btle9).  Leadership of both the Lytle Creek and Wrightwood Fire Safe Councils will attend morning briefing and on-site to witness operations.  For additional information, please contact Pam Bierce, Public Information Officer for Front Country Ranger District, at 909-382-2896.

We will personally be posting daily updates to the blogs and websites.  Our boots are broken in and we look forward to Monday.

District Ranger Gabe Garcia
Deputy District Ranger Mary Long

Offline gus

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #7 on: Mar 24, 08, 10:18:28 AM »
Test burn has been started.  Smoke should be visible above the ridge line.

Test is successful burn will proceed.

Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #8 on: Mar 24, 08, 03:26:55 PM »











Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #9 on: Mar 24, 08, 04:26:45 PM »



Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #10 on: Mar 24, 08, 04:29:41 PM »

Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #11 on: Mar 24, 08, 04:34:32 PM »
Burning operations for the day have been completed.

Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #12 on: Mar 24, 08, 04:36:00 PM »
Incident Commander Ken Kempter (BC34)


Offline ga_garcia

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #13 on: Mar 24, 08, 10:56:29 PM »
Evening report for March 24, 2008 from Mary and Gabe, Deputy District Ranger and District Ranger.

I am always nervous until we really see how the vegetation reacts to fire.  The relative humidity (Rh) was estimated to be about 19%, winds calm.  John of the Wrightwood Firesafe Council walked out with Mary and me for the test burn.  It lit easily with chamise burning complete and the harder chaparral burning when heat from the torches or adjacent chamise burning, was applied.  The result, fire carried well but was controllable.  The burn boss, Battalion 31 Randy Unkovich and the Incident Commander, Battalion 34 Ken Kempter make the call to continue.

About mid morning, the wind shifted to more of northeast wind at 7-10mph and the Rh was 20% (the reading was taken on site and are taken hourly).  This gave us the perfect condition for the operation.

The crews made great progress, burning almost 1-1/2 miles of fuel break.  Makes one think how much fire we would have on a normal, warm summer day with humidity’s in the low teens or single digits, as is typical in this canyon.  One of my statements at this mornings briefing was we as land managers can apply fire to the land under our terms.

As the day progressed, the winds died down and the Rh increased, keeping in the low 20’s until about 4pm when the reading was 28%.  The increasing Rh, slowed the crews down some leaving unburned pockets we will need to hit again.  We had to apply more fuel to the fire except where chamise existed.  At the end of the day, the chamise would burn and just peter out.

Mary and I left the site at about 5:30pm with some overhead, CalFire’s Fenner Crew and an assortment of our hand crews left on site.  Over night, there will be an engine staffed by 4 very experienced fighter fighters.  At the time of this writing, the radio is very quiet.  You can expect to smell smoke over night and see a bush flare up here and there as the fire backs down the slope.

The burning operation will continue tomorrow with additional resources.  We will continue to widen the line with hand operations, working our way toward Lytle Creek.  We expect to work in the Lytle Creek area Wednesday or Thursday.  Convince the Wrightwood Firesafe contingency to show up with their cameras tomorrow.  We will be using a Terra-Torch, our version of a flame thrower.  We need it to reach below the road and fuel break were we are being challenged to safely apply heat.

The forecast is for cooling and increasing Rh’s with mention of a slight chance for precipitation Sunday or Monday.  You could not ask for a better burning window to hand fire the fuel break.  Let’s just hope the Rh increases do not hinder operation, as it did in 2006.  It all depends on where the coastal fogs hits the canyon.

Mary and I stopped by to see Ellen of the Lytle Creek Firesafe Council on our way out. She was all smiles, as she always is, on the execution of this prescribed fire.  I must say, we could not carry out such an operation without the overwhelming support of communities.  Thank you Lytle Creek and Wrightwood.

Gabe and Mary – Front Country Ranger District

Offline ga_garcia

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #14 on: Mar 25, 08, 11:00:20 PM »
Evening report for March 25, 2008 from Mary and Gabe, Deputy District Ranger and District Ranger.

Day two was successful, although we fell about 100 yards short of our target, the crews covered another 1-1/2 miles of fuel break and about 80 acres treated.  The acre total is lower primarily due to the Lytle Fire of 2003.  We walked crews past this recovering fire area along unit 5 back to the unburned areas.

Today was terra-torch Tuesday, what a tool.  Jim has posted some great pictures.

The morning started slowly, relative humidity (Rh) was in the low 20’s with light winds.  We began by hand firing and terra torching pockets along the break that remained from yesterday.  We had similar results; we could punch holes in the brush but couldn’t get great runs.  The vegetative composition in these areas is dominated by the harder chaparral; birch leaf mountain mahogany, Ceanothus, etc with a scattering of chamise and dead material.  These pockets just would not carry fire.  They would ignite but would not move much. 

Although not much burned in these pockets, we are comfortable with the results.  Again, we broke up the fuel bed for a controllable fire when we run the heli-torch in the second phase of our operation.

When we turned the corner, we put more smoke in the air.  The seasoned material in the masticated lines ignited well and fire carried.  Adjacent brush ignited as well creating a wider fuel break in the more flammable vegetation of the more southerly aspects.

We sent up a few substantial columns but judging from the web cam, these were pretty wimpy.  As we progressed down the ridge toward Lytle Creek, burning conditions improved.  Rh’s increased to 31% but the off shore breeze created a conductive heat column.  It assisted in moving the fire. 

The terra torch was key to our success today.  It could lay enough heat to carry fire up the hill.  The fire did not run but would work it’s way upslope in fingers.  The speed of fire movement was greatly dependant on the heat applied.  When it began to move to quickly, we slowed down the Del Rosa Hotshot firing crew and halted the torch and the fire would slowly lay down.  When the holding boss, Mill Creek Hotshot Superintendent Pete Coy, was comfortable with control and spotting potential, firing boss Randy Unkovich continued operations.  This gave us the 40-60% burn pattern we are targeting.

The holding crew was made of the Mill Creek hotshot, 4 San Bernardino National Forest Engines, CalFire crews and the Los Angeles Conservation Corp based out of Angelus Oaks.

The terra-torch, on loan from the Angeles National Forest, was accompanied today by Redlands Engine 264.  It will be accompanied by another Redlands engine tomorrow, Thank you Redlands.  The Redlands Crew had a blast as all of them had a chance at the trigger.

The decision to cease operations where we did was based on burn time remaining and the potential for ridge top winds tonight.  With the prospect for these winds, the firing boss and incident commander made the wise decision to square off the burn early and give the holding boss, ample opportunity to cool down the fire for tonight’s crew.  We left the same engine and crew out tonight as last night to monitor the fire.  When we left, the holding boss was briefing the engine crew on potential hotspots.  Again, my radio is quiet so they must be doing well.  I think they might be suffering though as they must survive tonight on sandwiches vs. the pizza they had last night. 

The plan for tomorrow ranges from burning down to the upper cabins of Lytle Creek to shutting down operations for a day.  The decision will be made on site tomorrow morning. 

The 4pm weather forecast called for increasing winds peaking at midnight.  The weather tomorrow calls for Rh’s in the 30’s and winds 15-20mph with gust 25-30.  The Rh is optimal for the lower elevation, south aspect and vegetation type.  The concern is the wind.  We will reserve the decision to burn tomorrow based on the wind speed and direction.  Lone Pine and Lytle Creek canyons are peculiar.  The wind could be roaring in the Cajon and winds still in these canyons.  If the winds are mild and westerly, we will have conditions optimal for operations.

Our plan called for the progress we made to date and tomorrow being a slower day because of the continuous vegetation type, the holding lines in place and proximity to cabins.  After our walk through last Friday, the decision was made to cut in additional fuel breaks above Lytle Creek for alternate strategies.  These breaks were began by Forest crews over the weekend and completed yesterday by the CalFire crews. 

Under optimal conditions, we would burn down to the line just above the cabins.  If burn patterns dictated, we will take fire to the fire break cut higher up the slope above the cabins some 100 feet.  Under this scenario, we will later follow up with hand crews and a chipper to achieve the desired fuel condition to provide a safety buffer down to the cabins. 

If high winds surface on this slope, we will rest our crews for a day.

As the week progresses, winds will decrease and Rh will increase.  Precipitation is still in the forecast for Sunday or Monday.

We are looking at two more days to secure the fuel break.  Tomorrow or Thursday we will work our way to Lytle Creek.  The following day, we will work from the unit 4/5 boundary up to the top of unit 4.  Once complete, we will make arrangements for the heli-torch

By the end of day two, sunburn was well established on our faces and necks.  We must have forgotten the lesson of 2006, wear sunscreen.  Good Night All

Gabe and Mary – Front Country Ranger District

Offline ga_garcia

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #15 on: Mar 26, 08, 11:12:44 PM »
Evening report for March 26, 2008 from Mary and Gabe, Deputy District Ranger and District Ranger.

Wow, what a day.  85 acres of very technical ground treated.

The treatment area approaching Lytle Creek contained the highest percentage of flammable chamise, on an eastern slope, with greater exposure to the sun.  Conditions for such a burn could not have been better.  Humidity’s this morning began in the low 40’s and rose throughout the day as we approached Lytle Creek to 56% by about 4:30pm.  The winds lined up perfectly and remained low all day.  Out of the east and in single digits. 

Knowing the challenges, the overhead team worked the area, slowly, in chunks.  They began by cleaning up remnants from the end of the day yesterday with the terra-torch and hand firing. 

The pace was kept slow to observe fire behavior for today’s operation.  With this knowledge, the firing and holding bosses discussed and agreed on where to begin and end each block.  Masterful! 

We initially established the Incident Command post at the Picnic area in Lytle Creek where we had a perfect view of operations.  We also decided to open the picnic area, free of charge, so the community could come in and watch.  We had a few visitors.  Thanks for the fresh baked cookies Ellen.

As the firing moved down slope, we moved up to a turnout just above the last cabins for a better view of progress.  We were joined by residents and cabin owners on the road.  I think they enjoyed the show until we had to ask them to leave when the firing came to within 300 yards of the command post.  This was for your safety, to limit anxiety as you saw the flames approach and minimize distractions to the team.

The exposed slope burned beautifully.  The western slope, not exposed to wind, burned with great control.  The smoke column laid to the east along the slope until it left the lower wind stratum.  Once out of this stratum, it went straight up, capped and dispersed to the west, away from Wrightwood and well above Lytle Creek. 

Once the firing was completed and the heat began to lessen, we opened the road for residents.  As they crested the hill to see the results, they couldn’t help but smile.  Your smiles were matched by the smoke colored faces of the crews.  What a day.

Great work CalFire, Redlands Fire Department, Los Angeles Conservation Crew and San Bernardino Forest Crews.

We had another key player on site today. The Forest Service’s, Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW) out of Seattle, Washington.  Prior to operations, they established plots in units 4 and 5.  They sent one scientist into the units to collect plot data such as, fuel moisture, in unburned and burned areas.  PNW will continue to visits these plots throughout the project.  Their analysis will provide valuable information for others to carryout prescribe fire in similar ecotypes.  The results will assist in better meeting resource objectives. 

For tonight, we left engine crew 31 along with a water tender at the top of the slope.  At the bottom, we left a patrol unit to monitor along Lytle Creek Road. 

What next?  The weather projections remain the same, increasing relative humidity’s (Rh), decreasing winds with potential rain Sunday and Monday.  Looking out further, a greater probability of rain and yes, maybe even snow on Tuesday and Wednesday down to 3500’.

Tonight, we expect pockets and fingers of fire on the eastern slopes   The western slope should smolder with an occasion flame.  No fire runs but rather backing down the draw, away from Lytle Creek.

When the smoke clears in the morning, we’ll assess results.  The team may decide to cut more fuel breaks on the western slope to widen control lines with additional fire.

The core of our work will begin at the top of unit 5, widening the fuel break to the top of unit 4.  This operation should proceed quicker than our work to date.  Remember that in 2006, we laid fire along units one and two, adjacent to unit 4.  We will bump by most of these areas quickly but given the length of unit 4, securing line could take up to 2 days.

Operation beyond cleaning up unit 4 will be determined by the weather.  If the storms materialize as predicted, helicopter operations will be delayed.  We will need to give the fuels and ground time to dry.

For now, good night.  We had fun day.

Gabe and Mary – Front Country Ranger District


Offline ga_garcia

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #16 on: Mar 28, 08, 12:09:27 AM »
Evening report for March 27, 2008 from Mary and Gabe, Deputy District Ranger and District Ranger.

It was a slow, tedious 25 acres accomplished today.  It was productive given the landscape and fuelbreaks we worked with.  Well deserved praise goes to the crews.

We focused on the unit 4 all day securing the top and the flanks.  The right flank (northeast) of unit 4 is bordered by masticated line as is the top.  These areas are also bordered by units treated in 2006. 

The left flank (southwest) is bordered by hand line cut earlier in the year by forest’s crews. 

The masticated lines were recently established under contracts administered by “Forester 3-1”, Henry Herrera. 

Each segment was implemented differently.

The top and right flanks were burned using a combination of hand firing and terra-torch.  Today was the last day for the terra-torch, sorry you missed it John.  The initial lights in these sections went fairly quickly.  Once these initial buffers were created, crews went back in to establish greater depth thus, preventing the possibility of runs over the saddles or chimneys.  This strategy is important when helicopter operations put fire down. 

The left flank is all handline.  Handlines are almost always narrower than masticated line.  The narrowness of handline provides for lesser of a safety zone, thus greater precaution was taken by the firing boss and captain 38.  This was the safest way to proceed.  Crews always kept one foot in the black, plumbed line to control heat as they went and the numbers of people on the lines were sufficient to maintain control at all times.  Good job CalFire, Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC) and Forest Crews. 

Weather for such an operation was almost optimal.  The winds were perfect in speed and direction for the right flank.  Relative humidity (Rh) was a little high for the left.

Research was ever present today.  We had 2 Forest Service groups on site today.  Both the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Station and Riverside Fire Lab were roaming the slopes.  PNW measured the effects of fire on the ecosystem under a prescriptive scenario.  Riverside was observing smoke dispersion and the effects to air quality.  Valuable information will be garnered from both studies.  We will post links to each as they are published.  We are sure they will both have lots of numbers and strange symbols only the incident commander (IC) can interpret.  We hope he will explain the meaning someday.  We are positive he will use the results in his next operation.

The Rh was jumping 5-10% each hour as the day closed.  Rh recovery could range between 60-80% tonight.  The marine layer will move further up the canyon. 

We left an engine all day above Lytle Creel today to monitor yesterday’s work.  We don’t think they had any work today.  With the increasing humidity’s, we pulled them for the night.  We left one engine at the top to monitor activity for the night. 

What’s next?  No change in weather projections.  Increasing Rh.  Precipitation possible Sunday and Monday.  Snow is still in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.  Wind will depend on the pressure deferential but no predictions for any substantial pushes. 

Tomorrow, crews will finish hand firing the left flank down to 3N06, Lytle Creek road below Stockton Flats.

A second crew will be widening the remnants of the saddle above Lytle Creek.  Remember, fire runs harder in saddles and the Rh will be the highest in this operation tomorrow.  I will spend my time at this site until completed.

What else tomorrow?  The overhead, individually and independently, toured the project on their way out, looking for troublesome areas for the next phase, helicopter operations.  They will position people tomorrow to shore up these areas.

Given long-term weather projections, we doubt phase 2 will start soon.  This is not bad for plans for two reasons:
 1.Having wider fuelbreaks creates better tactical opportunity in the event of a wildfire:
    a. To take a stand with wildfire driven by a diurnal event, pushing toward Wrightwood or
    b.Gives more time in a northeastern event threatening Lytle Creek.
 2.The moisture in these fronts will more than likely remove remaining heat prior to helicopter operations.  This will provide for greater comfort to overhead when broadcast burning operations commence.

We are almost done with the first phase.  We are looking forward to closing out tomorrow.

Last comment, that Jim guy takes some great pics.

Night All

Gabe and Mary – Front Country Ranger District


Offline ga_garcia

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #17 on: Mar 28, 08, 11:23:13 PM »
Evening report for March 28, 2008 from Mary and Gabe, Deputy District Ranger and District Ranger.

A clean up day, 25 acres treated, phase I complete.  The perimeter of units 4 & 5 now have prescribed, black line encasing them. 

The objectives today were to:
1)   Bring fire down the southwest flank of unit 4 to road 3N06 (Stockton Flats Road).
2)   Use fire for greater depth on the southwest border of unit 5.  This is the section closest to Lytle Creek.

The relative humidity (Rh) remained high all day, high 30 to mid 50’s.  I believe the Rh was above 60 when we arrived on unit 5 and never dropped below 50.  Winds were calm ranging from 2-8mph and from the SW, marine influenced.

Closing fire line down to 3N06 was some tough work.  If you recall in yesterday’s report, crews worked down the hand line on the left flank.  Where we ended operations was where we could safely get water down to.  As crews progressed down this flank, they plumbed fire hose.  The main line going down this flank was so long, it took approximately 1000 gallons of water just to fill.  At over 7lbs/gallon, we risked failure of the mainline if we continued.

Crews today had to begin a new hose lay from the bottom up to tie in where we ended yesterday’s operations.  Imagine carrying all your fire gear, a tool and a 45lb pack of hose up this terrain.  Ken and I quipped, how nice it was to no longer be on a crew.  45lbs of hose will only get you so far; go back down for another 45.  Yup, we are happy to no longer be on a crew.

The upper end of unit 4 went well, just slow because of the terrain.  Leadership on this north end consisted of the firing boss Randy Unkovich his trainee Lauren Blake, (Fuels 3).  Lauren is a recent addition to the Ranger District.  She and Henry Herrera (Forester 3-1) have presented at both Wrightwood and Lytle Creek Firesafe Councils. 

The workforce, or should I say work horses, on unit 4 included Forest Service’s Del Rosa Crew, CalFire Crews and San Bernardino NF engine crews.

Unit 5 was a different challenge, more technical again.  We wanted to create greater depth on the fuel break adjacent to Lytle Creek.  This area is lower in elevation and has a higher component of chamise. With this in mind, prep work was made by unit 5’s firing boss, Frank Esposito, Captain 4-1 of the Mill Creek Hotshots.  He put his hand crews to work, chunking up the landscape in burning blocks by establishing fuelbreaks across the slope.  Once completed, he used a portion of his crew to lay fire first at the upper break and then at the toe of the slope.  We hoped to generate enough heat to run to the edge of Wednesday’s work, consuming vegetation to prescription.  With such high Rh’s and in a canyon sheltered by wind, we could not establish good runs.  We did punch holes in the fuel bed.  When we heli-torch, these holes will dissipate heat moving up slope.

For additional security, a second tactic was implemented.  Captain 4-1 deployed his resources to establish fuel breaks on the SW aspect for a second burnout operation.  This was the slope that burned well on Wednesday.  This is where the smoke column initially flowed east, hit a mid stratum, creating a vertical smoke column then, capped and dispersed westerly.  Frank was able to generate some heat for short finger runs. 

The combination of tactics will provide the results desired.  Throughout the day, fire crawled up both slopes, punching holes on the eastern aspect and fingers on the west facing slope.  We expect slow, ground crawls to continue throughout the night,

Personnel on unit 5 included Los Angeles Conservation Corp, the Mill Creek Crew and various San Bernardino engine crews.  At the bottom of the hill were an Engine and water tender off of the San Jacinto Ranger District.  At the top of this operation was an engine a crew from the city of Redlands

For an additional measure of security at the bottom of unit 5, Henry and I walked out to the upper cabins of Lytle Creek with overhead from the LACC crew.  We will be sending this crew out next week to chip all the cut material from the lower fuel break.  They will also thin and chip the chaparral vegetation upslope from the cabins, feathering  in a fuel break reaching up to 100 feet above the upper cabins. 

So, where was the holding boss?  I believe he walked back and forth between both operations.  Not sure if this is true but he kept in contact with both operations throughout the day.  The only time the IC and I saw him was at the briefing and at the end of the day. 

BDF engine 31 will be on site all night to monitor heat.  For tomorrow, we will send out 2 Forest engines and the Del Rosa crew to monitor and cool down hot spots.  There should not be much work on Saturday as the weather projections are showing higher probabilities for moisture in the coming days.  Precipitation potential has been pushed up to Saturday evening.  We are looking at a colder storm Tuesday and Wednesday. 

If the latter storm does materialize, helicopter operations will be on hold for at least one week and more than likely, two weeks.  If the vegetation breaks bud in this period, helicopter operations will not occur until late April, early May. 

When a chaparral system breaks bud, or begin to grow, fuel moisture will shoot up.  We will have to wait out this growth spurt to a point where fuel moisture come back into prescription.  This growth process will not prevent heli-torch operations before fire season.  In 2006, we waited out the growth spurt and burned in May, just before June gloom. 

If these storms do not provide the precipitation predicted, we could be heli-torching as early as Thursday April 3.

We will keep everyone posted.

An observation on safety.  I can accept bumps, bruises, bee stings, etc as a part of the job.  I can not accept people being hit by cars.  We set up traffic cones, slow down signs, vehicles with flashing lights where we had concentrations of crews.  Locals crawled through these areas, stopped to talk and take a picture or two.  Visitors apparently had somewhere to be on a dead end road.  We even put up stop signs as you entered one area where we had equipment and staff in concentration.  NO EFFECT.  To ameliorate, we stopped each car entering the lower site and waved them through one at a time to maintain a safe speed.  WHY? 

In the end, no one hurt this week, everyone is tired, and everyone smiled.  It was a good week.

Night all, keep posting, we’ll be talking soon! 

Gabe and Mary – Front Country Ranger District


Offline ga_garcia

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #18 on: Mar 28, 08, 11:45:33 PM »
p.s., Alfredo and I met Olympia Dukakis on our way out this evening. :2thumbsup:

Offline ga_garcia

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #19 on: Mar 29, 08, 06:07:09 PM »
Report for  March 29, 2008

It was a quiet day on the project.  Not much smoke showing.  The marine layer or low clouds, sat on the project and the temperatures were low.

No one will be on site tonight.  Tomorrow, we’ll have an engine and/or patrol unit monitoring.  If we receive a drizzle tonight, which looks to be setting up now, we may just have a patrol unit.  We will continue to monitor throughout the week as activity warrants and weather conditions allow. 

Weather projects are calling for precipitation the coming days through Wednesday.  It looks like another rain storm is setting up for Saturday April 5. 

The current weather pattern will more than likely prevent heli-torch operations for next week.  From what we’re seeing, we will not be burning for at least 2 weeks.

Mary and I will monitor traffic on the forum.  We will post to address questions and when conditions change on the project site.

Gabe and Mary – Front Country Ranger District


Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #20 on: Apr 11, 08, 09:25:11 PM »
Report for April 11, 2008

Looks like we are lining up for phase II of Lone Pine, beginning Tuesday, April 15.

The weather is lining up quite well.  When we concluded hand firing operations on March 28, we were entering a wet pattern.  Since then, we have had precipitation mixed with a marine layer.

We are currently in a drying trend with temperatures in the 80’s.  These higher temps will remain through the weekend  Early next week we will be back in a cooling trend with little to no winds

Overhead for this operation will be finalized on Monday.  The IC role will more than likely remain in the hands of Ken.  Mike Wakoski (Division 3), will also be present for this phase of the project.

Resources will be the same mix.  San Bernardino National Forest engines, water tenders and crews; Los Angeles Conservation Crew, CalFire and City crews and engines.  We have invited both Redlands and Rancho Cucamonga.  We are awaiting confirmation of County resources.

The heli-torching operation will require more people and hardware than the hand firing operation.

We have also notified research; Riverside Fire Lab to analyze smoke dispersion and the Pacific Northwest Station to better model effects of prescribed fire in chaparral ecosystems.

We are also expecting reporters on site throughout the week for a feature story on prescribed fire.

Lastly, I have contacted Wrightwood and Lytle Creek Fire Safe Councils.  Leadership of both councils will attend morning briefings as well as being on site during operations.  We will identify safe areas along Lytle Creek Road for viewing by anyone interested in seeing this operation close up.  I hope to have those sites identified by the second day of operations.

I will post again on Monday April 14, details of the operation.

See you all soon, Gabe and Mary

Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #21 on: Apr 11, 08, 09:26:11 PM »
heli-torching operation May 2006







Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #22 on: Apr 13, 08, 08:10:48 AM »
April 12, 2008
An unexpected day on the project today.  The “Project Fire” was gps’d at 18 acres.  It is entirely within the Lone Pine masticated lines and lines widened by fire just over 2 weeks ago.  The Project is located at 3N31 and 3N29.  It is at the upper end of unit 4 and adjacent to unit 5.

Although the fire was entirely within the project, we decided to go into an active suppression mode.  We based our decision on conditions being out of prescription.  In full suppression mode, we mobilized aircraft, engines and hand crews.

At this writing, Forest Engine 31 and Patrol 36 remain on site.  Engine 31 will remain on site until somewhere between 10pm and midnight, activity will dictate.  Patrol 36 will remain on site through the night. 
Tomorrow’s shift will include 2 engines, water tender and a hand crew. 
Weather for Sunday will be similar to today.  Winds will begin tapering off midday, transitioning into the cooler period expected for next week.  The early portion of next week will be dominated by an off shore flow; lower temps and higher Rh’s. 
Weather on the Project was quite different than found in the Cajon Pass and in Lytle Creek.  The winds in Devore were reported to be 25mph.  On the Project, the Rh’s were between 17-25%, winds steady 2-3 with gusts up to 8 and temperatures in the mid 70’s. 
As for the prescribed heli-torch operation planned to begin Tuesday or Wednesday, we are still in a glide path to proceed.  The decision will be based on our prescriptive metrics, short and long term weather, resource availability (both on site and for contingency) and vegetative conditions (observed activity).
I’ll post again tomorrow to report on status and to address questions posted on the forum.
Gabe  - Front Country District Ranger.

Offline ga_garcia

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #23 on: Apr 14, 08, 04:34:01 PM »
We will postpone Heli-torching one more day due to predicted , westerly winds. 

Lone Pine Phase II is now scheduled to begin on Wednesday April 16.

Gabe

Offline Wrightwood

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Re: Lone Pine Canyon Prescribed Burn #2 Mar 2008
« Reply #24 on: Apr 16, 08, 11:48:55 PM »
The Lone Pine Canyon Fuel Reduction Project resumed today. Crews attend morning briefing at Lytle Creek Ranger Station:









Equipment staged for Heli-torching operation. (shown are two of the Heli-torch sleds)



Close up of Heli-torch sled



Heading up Lone Pine Canyon Road around 3pm: