(Jackson, Wyo.) - Increased humidity in the fire area reduced fire behavior yesterday, allowing firefighters to gain on fire containment by four percent. The Cliff Creek Fire is now 88% contained and burning 31,966 acres. Heat generated by single and group tree torching is occurring in the fire’s interior in the Mill, Shoal, and Dell Creek drainages.
Firefighters are mopping up hot spots, monitoring the fire and repairing areas where it will help to expedite the lifting of area, trail and road closures. Repair work includes removing berms that may have been created along roadways and insuring any stream crossings are stable. They are also backhauling trash and equipment no longer needed.
A transfer of command will occur tomorrow morning from Great Basin Team 5 to a smaller local incident management team.
With the potential for afternoon thunderstorms, smoke will lift earlier in the afternoon and improve air quality through the weekend. Teton County Public Health recommends people avoid all physical outdoor activity in the Granite Creek Area. Smoke monitors that were positioned throughout the fire area have been removed.
The Cliff Creek Fire is using natural barriers in the Shoal Creek Wilderness Study Area and the Gros Ventre Wilderness to confine the fire’s northern boundary to minimize firefighter and aviation exposure to danger and to allow fire to play a natural role in the Wilderness. Fire is one of the only tools nature has to restore the forest habitat to natural conditions. In the spring, fire treated areas will bring a new flush of wildflower blooms and additional vegetation wildfire can feed on.
As the summer heat and dry air continues, vegetation is becoming dryer. This increases the potential for fire to quickly carry in the lower elevation grasses and sage. When out recreating, it is extremely important to ensure camp fires are thoroughly extinguished with water and are put out prior to leaving the area. Any escape fire could have unintended and devastating consequences.
Fire information will be provided every-other day. The next fire update will be on Monday.
There will be an increased threat of thunderstorms near the fire through Sunday as moisture moves across the area today through Sunday. This cloud cover will create shading, which will put a lid on fire behavior. The potential for afternoon thunderstorms will help to clear morning smoke from valleys more quickly; however, they may also bring wind gusts up to 40mph. The fire is not currently posing a threat to containment lines.
The Bridger-Teton National Forest Emergency Area Closure, Order #04-03-562 went into effect Friday, August 5. This modification to the closure allows public access to areas WEST of Granite Creek. Burned areas, Granite Creek Campgrounds, Granite Hot Springs and numerous forest trails remain closed. The area closure also encompasses everything east of Granite Creek, the ridge north of Granite Hot Springs within the Gros Ventre Wilderness, and easterly to the Sawtooths and south along the Shoal Creek Wilderness Study Area to Jack Creek Basin and the private land boundary. http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/4865/32209/
There are no evacuation orders currently in effect.
Feature Photo: h/t InciWeb