Friday, July 28, 2006

Grandjean blaze could be contained today

As the saying goes, fire must be used to fight fire.

Wildland fire crews yesterday were expected to attack the last of the 840-acre Trailhead Fire near Grandjean by burning nearby areas. One large block of unburned forest stands between firefighters and full containment of the fire.

"We are getting everything in place so that we can burn out the last remaining area of unburned fuel between the fire and a large, natural rocky barrier," said Incident Commander Buz Vanskike. "If everything goes according to our plans, we will meet our estimate of full containment of this fire by Friday evening."

Two hotshot fire crews were expected Thursday. They flew over the fire in helicopters ad dropped plastic, ping-pong-ball-like igniters, which burst into flames when they hit the forest floor.

A helicopter flight over the fire Wednesday afternoon revealed very little activity. Just a few "smokes" were showing.

"The challenge for our firefighters in mopping up the hot spots, especially on the higher slopes and ridges, is that there is no water," Vanskike said. "They have to do what we call 'dry mopup' with dirt. It takes a lot more time and effort."

There have been no serious injuries. Six crews and three helicopters continue to work on the fire.

Grandjean remains closed. Maps explaining the closure are available at the Stanley Ranger Station, Redfish Lake and Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters.

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