Tuesday, June 29, 2004 11:00 MST

The fire briefing went well this morning. The fire stayed relatively quiet yesterday -- not a lot of spread -- calculated at 322 acres this morning. There is one spot fire 0.2 mile southwest of the main fire -- the spot fire is inside the planned fire line yet to be cut.

The Incident Management Team is up to just under 300 personnel on the ground. Eight helicopters are assigned to the fire at this time. Most of the scouting activities are complete and some line is beginning to be cut around the perimeter of the fire. The tactics are to attack the fire indirectly -- that is to cut a line far from the fire's edge and burn out the fuel between the main fire and the cut line.

We are having typical monsoon weather with light showers (and lightning) in the afternoon. Yesterday Safford received a nice shower but the area in the vicinity of the fire for the most part remained dry. Bill Lewis, the interim District Ranger, just stopped by and said the fire must have received some moisture in the last 12 hours as the smoke column has significantly reduced. That should help the effort considerably.

The Team is settling into a routine -- the firefighters are pulling up to 16 hours on duty with 8 hours off. A Spike Camp has been set up at the Forest Service Columbine Workstation so the firefighters can be relatively close to the action.

MGIO has completed the dropping of ~120 hazard trees along the access road and 10 hazard trees on site. Water supplies are being inventoried up -- and the perimeter sprinkler system is in good operational condition. We are preparing the 5,000 potable water tanker should that resource be required.

The fire is 5.5 miles away and several weeks away from being a direct threat to the observatory complex.

All for now -- we will keep you informed of any new developments.

John Ratje


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