A lightning strike in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Monday started the low-intensity Fork Fire in a remote, rocky and inaccessible area.
Fire managers with the Shasta-Trinity National Forest are monitoring the fire with aircraft, and, as of Wednesday, were not planning on inserting crews into the rough terrain because of “extremely high risks to firefighter safety,” as stated in a press release.
The Fork Fire, located near East Fork Lake in the Trinity Alps Wilderness, was approximately 0.1 acres as of Wednesday afternoon.
It was reported at 8:08 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 7 – one of more than 20 lightning-caused wildfires that were reported since Sunday on the Shasta-Trinity.
Fire managers look at the fire’s location, conditions on the ground, past fire history, and weather in order to assess risks and predict fire behavior, according to the release.
“The analysis determined that the Fork Fire is one that is very unlikely to spread,” said Fire Ecologist Kevin Osborne. “This fire is located near tree-line and the vegetation and surface fuels there are sparse. Historically, fires that start in sparse surface fuels show a low potential for spread.”
Deputy Forest Fire Chief Gwen Sanchez explained, “We assess hazards to firefighting resources and determine values at risk and fire spread potential when selecting a suppression strategy for any fire. In this case, because of the high risk to firefighter safety coupled with the minimal fire behavior, we have decided to monitor this fire by aerial reconnaissance. This allows us to focus our firefighters on other fires which are more likely to spread and impact values.”
The Forest Service says it is monitoring the Fork Fire by the air using helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. It also conducts aerial reconnaissance flights each day over the forest to assist with detection of new lightning related fires. The reconnaissance flights are part of their normal operating plan after lightning storms, according to the release.
Additional fire information can be obtained by visiting https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5472/.
Twelve of the recent fires on the Shasta-Trinity were reported to be 100 percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon, and 10 were still uncontained.
The total number of acres burned was reported at 20, with 207 personnel assigned to the fires.