US Forest Service Offers Update on Paradise Fire



Submitted by US Forest Service

The Paradise Fire became active late Sunday afternoon with the arrival of a warm, dry, unstable air mass. Strong, up valley winds caused short range spotting and kept the flames moving through the tree canopies until late night hours. The relative humidity level in the rainforest was approximately 30% last night; typically, it ranges from 50% to 60% at this time of the year. The fire moved to the east/northeast, in thick vegetation. Dry lichens high in the tree tops are carrying the flames in extremely steep, inaccessible terrain.

The Paradise Fire remains on the north side of the Queets River in the Olympic National Park and the west side is holding, but its exact size is not known. There is too much smoke to get a precise measure this morning. An infrared flight will be conducted tonight, which will allow more accurate mapping of the fire area. It is important to note that the fire is burning in a very remote area; it is not threatening any life or property.

Every effort has been made to stop the fire’s spread, and crews will continue suppression activities when it is safe to do so in areas that are accessible. But in much of the active areas, options are limited. Rolling rocks, falling snags, and unstable burning material make it impossible for firefighters to build direct line at this time.

Continued warm temperatures and low humidity are expected through this week and the fire will likely increase in size and complexity. A National Incident Management Organization has been ordered. This highly qualified team consists of seven people including the Incident Commander, Fire Behavior Analyst, Public Information Officer, and specialists in Operations, Planning, and Finance.

Current resources include 18 firefighters and two helicopters. The helicopters are using bucket drops to slow the fire’s spread in the drainages. A portable water tank has been set up along the Queets River for helicopters to dip from, so they are not filling buckets directly out of the Queets River.

A public meeting will be held tonight, June 22, from 7:00-8:00 PM, in the Vern Burton Community Center meeting rooms, 308 East Fourth Street, in Port Angeles, WA. Fire Managers will share maps and photos of the fire area and provide an update of the fire activity.

A second public meeting will be held in the Forks area tomorrow night, June 23, from 6:00-7:00 PM. The location will be reported in tomorrow’s update.

For additional information, please call Paradise Fire Information at 360-565-2986.

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