UPDATED 8/28/2021, 10 pm
Here is the situation status summary from the incident command team on the fire. These can be downloaded daily from here:
|Significant Events||The overnight inversion lingered in the lower elevations of the incident reducing fire activity until 14:00. Once the inversion broke, activity began to increase in Div D and Div N/P. Spotting continued to occur with the Probability of Ignition again back up at 90%. Spread was also aided by the low relative humidity values, up-canyon winds, and spotting distances of 1/2 mile. Passive and short-lived active crown fire runs were common in the Northeastern, and Eastern areas of the incident. The after 12:00 the wind patterns began to battle in the northeastern areas, causing small spot fires and erratic conditions. Large quantities of extremely hot stump holes and ash pits continue to threaten the line and hamper mop-up, as does the equally large amount of fire weakened timber. ERC and BI levels are above the 90th percentile, and 1000 hr fuels are below the 10th percentile.|
|Planned Actions||Provide for the life safety of citizens and emergency responders. Implement structure and critical infrastructure defense. Construct control lines and take advantage of targets of opportunity as allowed by fire behavior and resource limitations. Improve and hold established control lines. Prepare for firing operations and implement burn plan. Identify and establish contingency lines.|
|Fire Behavior Description|
|Fire Behavior||Active Long-range Spotting Torching Crowning|
|Fuel Model Summary||There is a heavy dead and down component with drought-stressed fuels. Live fuels are cured to levels normally seen in late September, and fuels are extremely receptive to spot fires. Fuel moistures are historically low. Northern California remains under a Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory. ERC’s are above the 97th percentile. 100 hr and 1000hr fuels are below the 3rd percentile.|
|Primary Fuel Model||Timber (Litter and Understory)|
|Weather Concerns||Observed: – Strong morning inversion and smoke conditions prevailed through mid-day before breaking and mixing up the smoke. Temperatures were very warm with high reaching 88-94 over lower elevations and 75-85 over higher terrain. Relative humidity minimums in the teens were common over the entire fire area. Terrain-driven winds after inversion break were upslope/up canyon 6-11 mph with gusts to 18 mph along the Highway 50 corridor. Forecast for tonight: – Mostly clear with areas of smoke. Lows 50-60 highest elevations to 60-70 thermal belts and lower elevations. Poor humidity recovery is expected at 25-30 percent. Winds downslope/downcanyon 4-9 mph with gusts to 15 mph in and below canyons. A change to stronger winds across the fire area begins on Monday and a Fire Weather Watch for Strong Winds and Low Relative Humidity will go into effect on Monday at 1100 and remain in effect through Tuesday evening.|
|Projected Activity – 12 hours||Fire spread will slow after 21:00 due to the winds decreasing across the fire area. Winds will shift to a Southerly flow, then travel down the deep drainages causing erratic conditions for both the wind and fire behavior. Minimal fire growth is expected in Branch 30 and in Divisions A & F. Fire will continue to slowly back down towards Hwy 50 in Div G and should reach the river by sunrise. Firing operations are planned to take advantage of the nighttime wind patterns, cooler temperatures, and a slight increase in relative humidity in Divisions I, J, and L.|
|Projected Activity – 24 hours||Inversion will set up over the fire again, and begin breaking until 11:00. Humidity levels will be in the low teens allowing for any new or hold-over spot fires to become active quickly. Growth is still expected to continue in the Northeastern divisions, with minimal growth at the Southwestern and Southeastern portions of the heel. Occasional torching will cause ember cast to threaten control lines. Spotting will be over 1/2 a mile, with the Probability of Ignition at 90% will allow any spot fire to become well established. Group tree torching and small active crown runs will still be possible in areas where the fire is in alignment with the steep drainages, producing additional spot fires. Understory burns will aid in the clean-up of heavy dead and down fuels within the perimeter. Minimal overnight humidity recovery will allow for continued activity throughout the night.|
UPDATED 8/28/2021, 8:00am.
Good morning. A couple big things happened on Caldor overnight:
There were major firing operations along the dozer lines on the east side of the fire, and an early-morning flare up on the rim of Camp Creek, spilling into Butte Creek and North Fork Consumnes River. This happened near Tolowa Trail. At 4:40am, the fire was north of Happy Valley Road, north of Sweeneys Crossing. There was no new spread showing in the Middle Fork Consumnes River Canyon. toward E-16. Also the SE flank of the fire spread actively to the SE, near Sherman Canyon, outflanking the west end of the 2019 Caples Burn. Fire on the north side of Highway 50 spread about 1/2 mile upcanyon over past 36 hours.
For those of you following the fire on online scanners, here is a map showing today’s Divisions and Branches.
)( = Division breaks
][ = Branch breaks
If you’d like to wade through what each Division is working on today, there is a lot of information in the daily Incident Action Plan (IAP). The IAP is published every morning, and on some fires the night shift gets a separate plan. It tells firefighters where they’re working, who they’re working for, what their assignment will be and what radio frequencies they will be using. There are also forecasts, medical evacuation information and an organizational showing chain of command. The IAP is accompanied by a map book with detailed fire maps for the entire fire. Putting this all together takes a whole team of people — the Planning Section of the Incident Management Team.
Several big things happened on Caldor overnight:
There were major firing operations along dozer lines on the east side of the fire. The southeast flank of the fire spread actively and further to the southeast near Sherman Canyon and has outflanked the west end of the 2019 Caples Burn. And an early-morning flare up on the rim of Camp Creek spilled into Butte Creek and the North Fork Consumnes River near Tolowa Trail. At 4:40am, the fire was north of Happy Valley Road, north of Sweeneys Crossing. There was no new spread showing in the Middle Fork Consumnes River Canyon toward E-16.
Looking at this latest heat mapping, it’s hard to tell whether the firing operations on the east edge of the fire (near Cody Lake) stayed on the west side of the dozer lines as intended. I don’t have any field verification either way, so I am just posting maps as they show the situation. There could be inaccuracy in either the mapped location of the dozer lines or the IR data I’m using. These things happen. I will update this post when I have better information.
Heat mapping as of 3:45am on August 28. Bold white lines show approximately five hours spread. The lighter white line shows the previous 24 hours of spread. This map shows firing operations south of Cody Lake that occurred between 11pm and 3:45am. Black lines are bulldozer firelines. Orange and red areas have more intense heat. Yellow areas are generally cooling down.
View is looking west, over the northeast head of the fire. Kyburz is in top-center and Strawberry is in far-right. Click any map to enlarge.
Looking west, over Cody Meadow, south of Strawberry. This map shows firing operations south of Cody Lake that occurred between 11pm and 3:45am. Black lines are bulldozer firelines. I don’t know if the dozer line or IR heat mapping is accurate in this image.
Looking southwest over Strawberry at east head of the fire. This map shows firing operations south of Cody Lake that occurred between 11pm and 3:45am. Black lines are bulldozer firelines. I don’t know if the dozer line or IR heat mapping is accurate in this image. If both are accurate, there was an approximately 20 acre ‘slopover’ where the fire crossed the line. Also, this image shows a slopover on a section of fire (left of center in this image) that crossed the dozer lines two days ago, but which had been held in place with aggressive firefighting. I’ll update this post as I get information on whether or not fire crossed the lines.
Big picture view of the east head of the fire, looking west. We don’t see much spread east on the north side of Highway 50. The slopover on dozerlines (white outline) in the lower center of this image has been holding for two days before this image was taken at 3:45am on August 28. Orange and red areas have more intense heat. Yellow areas are generally cooling down.
Looking NE over the SE flank of the fire. Mormon Emigrant Trailer is in lower center, Highway 88 and Silver Lake on right. There was significant spread to the southeast overnight. The first white line in from the edge was fire’s location at 11pm, August 27. Red perimeter is about 3:45am, August 28. Lighter white line in from edge is 24 hours fire growth before 11pm, August 27. Caldor has now outflanked the 2019 Caples Fire and is spreading toward Highway 88.
Farther west on the SE flank, looking NW, there is a large spot fire into the Cat Creek watershed, east of Telephone Ridge.
For people living on west side of the fire, the big story is continuing spread out of Camp Creek Watershed into the North Fork Consumnes River drainage. Fire has spread about two miles downcanyon in past 30 hours. This heat imagery was captured about 4:40am on August 28. Heavy smoke kept helicopters and air tankers grounded for much of yesterday, and most of today will also probably be too smokey for air support. This takes away one of our key tools for controlling the spread of fire in these problems areas. View is to the east. Sly Park Lake in upper left, Pleasant Valley just off screen to lower right.
View to the east over Pleasant Valley and Somerset. There was no new spread downcanyon in the Middle Fork Consumnes River drainage toward E-16. There is bulldozer fireline all the way around this corner of the fire (black lines).
Coming around to the Highway 50 side of the fire, this view looks southeast over White Hall. The fire continues to spread downhill slowly. We call this ‘backing fire.’ Many of the larger trees will likely survive this lower-intensity kind of fire behavior. Also, heavy smoke in the canyons reduces the number of hours in each day that the fire can really breathe, further reducing the fire intensity. Often, backing fires in canyons have the exact same effects we aim for when we light prescribed burns.
Looking south, over Kyburz.
There is still a bit of heat on the uphill edge of the finger of fire that has been burning on north side of Highway 50, east of Kyburz, but no major growth uphill here in past 30 hours. The fire spread about 1/2 mile upcanyon in 30 hours before 4:45am, August 28.