August 16, 2007
Annie Larsen, 360-854-7365 Ext. 14
The Tolo Fire operation is winding down, but the fire will continue to grow on its western flank until the end-of-season precipitation comes. This 271-acre fire, located 15 miles northwest of Stehekin, is creeping and smoldering in very steep terrain. The only visible flames are in isolated high concentrations of dead and down fuel.
Fire managers are employing several methods to assure that the current containment lines will hold. A 10-person crew will remain on the fire for the time being, mopping up the fire 100 feet in from the line where possible, maintaining existing sprinkler lines, and using a palm-held infrared camera that detects hot spots even underground. A University of Montana team is in the process of investigating potential sites and installing a webcam for remote monitoring of the uncontained western edge.
A fire incident puts stress on a natural area. Trees are cut along the fireline and to enlarge landing areas for aircraft. Slopes are susceptible to erosion due to loss of vegetation. Ground is trampled or flattened in and near fire camps. Fire crews will now be tasked with rehabilitating those areas altered by the fire suppression activities.
North Cascades National Park resource manager Vicki Gempko has monitored suppression actions during the fire and has compiled guidelines for fire suppression rehabilitation. Some of the suggested actions include:
- Flush cutting stumps to ground level and camouflaging cut surfaces.
- Scattering brush and woody debris to match surrounding.
- Installing water bars where needed to control erosion.
- Removing all trash and flagging.
- Raking up grassy vegetation in sleeping areas.
- Concealing access trails, blending in well with urroundings particularly in areas visible from trails or road.
Further updates will be issued if conditions change significantly. For more information, go to www.nps.gov/fire/public/pub_firenews.cfm