Saturday, July 03, 2004 11:00 MST

The Gibson Fire has expanded rapidly -- yesterday morning it was 10 acres and blew up in the afternoon to 100+ acres. It was reported this morning at 112 acres but the infrared images last night show maybe 300+ acres have burned. The fire is quite active and in most difficult terrain. I expect the fire to peak out on Plainview Peak by noon today. It is extremely active in the drainage just southeast of Plainview Peak. I have a photo of the Gibson Fire from the Base Camp attached. Plainview Peak is behind the cloud of smoke.

The Nuttall Fire is at 3,105 acres and moving east towards Webb Peak -- the Team is looking at putting another indirect line near Webb Peak (1.6 miles northwest of the Observatory). As you know from our last post the Team had 10 fire fighters deploy their personal fire shelter -- all are safe.

The Team has order 3 additional Type 1 hot shot crews and 1 medium helicopter. Currently we have 7 Divisions assigned to the fire complex. We have 418 fire fighters on the ground today. A structure protection group has been assigned to the Observatory (27 persons). Joe James and Shane Olsen are on site to be a resource for that group. We have 2 Graham County water tenders and 2 MGIO water tenders staged at the Base Camp ready for deployment. We have 12 aircraft assigned today -- 2 planes air tactical, 1 lead plane, 2 air tankers, 7 helicopters of which 3 are Type 1 (heavy duty Sky Cranes).

The Team is looking to set up a slurry mixing batch plant at or near the Base Camp -- so they can pre-mix fire retardant.

The VATT, SMT and LBT have been secured -- air handlers shut down, vents sealed, flammable items moved away from windows, and so on... Sprinkler system integrity check is hopefully underway this morning -- we are having trouble getting authorization from the Incident Team to move on this front! With the structure group staging at the Observatory we should start getting some response soon. The Team liaison officer Sam Whitted/Bob Orrill have been staying in close contact and will be flying the fire this afternoon for us -- he will report at the 8:00 PM meeting.

More as it develops...

John Ratje

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