September 13, 2020

The Fork Fire started in the Crystal Basin near Gerle Creek under critical fire weather conditions on 9/8/2020. Driven by east winds gusting 30-50 miles per hour, the fire grew rapidly to the west. It is burning in the Rubicon River drainage and the 2014 King Fire burn scar.

The Rubicon canyon is in an extremely steep and remote area which makes firefighting difficult. This area of the King Fire had burned at high severity with nearly 100% tree mortality, leaving large snag patches of fire killed trees. The standing snags are a significant safety hazard, especially in strong winds. There is also a high concentration of dead and down trees creating a heavy fuel load, as well as dense post-fire regrowth of 4-6 foot tall brush.

As of this last Sunday, the fire was burning approximately 20 miles from Foresthill, the size of the fire was1,752 acres with

containment of 7%. The total personnel at the fire scene is 237. There are 4 Crews, 2 Helicopters, 9 Engines, 2 Dozers and 6 Water Tenders fighting the fire.

The incident meteorologist predicted southwest winds over the ridges, potentially aligning in the Rubicon

River drainage this last Sunday and Monday. Combined with lower humidity, these conditions could lead to critical fire weather. If the

smoke begins to lift out of the area, this is a strong indication of changing weather conditions.

On Saturday, crews focused on strengthening the lines east and south on the Fork Fire to prevent fire movement toward

Gerle Creek and Airport Flat. On Sunday, firefighters shifted their work toward the north and east where winds may push fire activity

and test containment lines. Crews will continue to mop up and hold the south side of the fire area. Firefighters have identified a

planned fire line near the southwest edge of the fire toward the South Fork of the Rubicon River. Crews continue to scout for safe

containment options further west across the Rubicon River, although steep topography and weakened snags present many

potential challenges. On the northeast side near Little Deer Creek, a containment line was established and improved. In preparation

for the critical fire conditions, the crews will attempt to use helicopters and Super Scoopers to cool active fire spots along the

northeast edge, if weather

permits.

Warm and dry conditions with poor humidity recovery will continue, leading to near critical fire weather conditions each afternoon.

A temporary flight restriction is in place over the fire area.

The Eldorado National Forest is closed until further notice as part of a regional temporary emergency closure.

Further information about this closure order can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado.

The Incident Management Team hosted a virtual community meeting on Sunday evening, with over 300 participants viewing the live video. A recording of the meeting is now available at https://facebook.com/EldoradoNF/. No account

is required to view the video. Virtual community meetings  are expected daily at 6 p.m. on the Eldorado National Forest’s

Facebook page. They will monitor online Facebook questions during the meeting, or you can email them your questions in advance at

enfincident@gmail.com. A recording will be posted immediately following the live meeting.

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