Between the fire and the grapes, Chris Mitchell, left, and Arly Allen of the Humboldt County Strike Team watch the progress of the fire as it slowly burns towards a private road on the Cache Creek Winery. [All photos by Mark McKenna]
Yesterday, firefighters from around the state including a Humboldt County Strike team, held the Pawnee Fire to 13,500 acres mostly in wildlands that didn’t seriously impact private property. The fire is now 25% contained.
Around 2,700 firefighters and support personnel moved from fighting a defensive fire and protecting structures to battering the fire back. Cooler weather and higher humidity helped as did the sheer numbers of humans and machines fighting back against the flames.
The Humboldt County Strike Team, which includes crews from Arcata Fire, Blue Lake Fire, Humboldt Bay Fire, Miranda Volunteer Fire and Briceland Volunteer Fire Departments is led by Humboldt Bay Fire Battalion Chief Kent Hulbert. Yesterday, the strike team successfully fought back the Pawnee Fire from burning the carefully tended vines of the Cache Creek Winery.
Below we take you through their day from morning briefing to refueling in the evening. At the bottom, we have today’s maps to show where the fire’s boundaries.
The Humboldt County Strike team starts by checking the fire map at the morning briefing. From left to right: Miranda Chief Robert Richardson and Briceland Firefighters Kai Ostrow and Aurora Studebaker.
After they get their assignments, the start looking for the Double Eagle subdivision on the map. Kai Ostrow and Aurora Studebaker from Briceland Fire in front and Humboldt Bay Fire Battalion Chief Kent Hulbert in the back.
The Strike Team from Humboldt County which includes firefighters from Arcata Fire, Blue Lake Fire, Humboldt Bay Fire, Miranda Volunteer Fire and Briceland Volunteer Fire Departments get instructions from Kent Hulbert.
When the Strike team gets on site, Battalion Chief Kent Hulbert, of Humboldt Bay Fire, tells the crew from Briceland the plan for the day.
The team will be preparing the area so the bulldozer can make a fire break. They’ll be doing backfires. This shot shows Marty Wansink, Aurora Studebaker, and Kai Ostrow.
Fire breaks over a ridge just North of the Cache Creek Winery.
Crews from the strike team light a backfire to keep the Pawnee Fire from burning through the area. The team uses these flames to consume the fuel before the wildfire gets to the area.
Chris Mitchell, left and Arly Allen watch the progress of the fire as it slowly burns towards a private road on the Cache Creek Winery. [All photos by Mark McKenna]
A successful back burn stopped the progress of the fire, saving these grapes on the Cache Creek Winery.
Brandon Harlander refills the Humboldt Bay Fire Truck.
KMZ Map file–Opens in Google Earth for a three Dimensional view