UPDATED 10:15 p.m. Simply restating at the top of the story the scheduled lifting of evacuations and opening of Highway 14, and giving notice of another community meeting scheduled for Friday evening.
KANE COUNTY – Alan Alldredge, Kane County’s emergency manager, said the Shingle Fire remains at 8200 acres and 10 percent containment, though that could change for the better by tomorrow morning.
Residents living north of Highway 89 will be allowed back to their homes after 6 a.m., Friday morning. Swains Creek evacuees will allowed to return home Saturday morning at 6 a.m.
Highway 14 is scheduled to reopened at 6 a.m. tomorrow.
Firefighters made good progress Wednesday and through the night on all flanks of the Shingle Fire which began Sunday six miles south of Duck Creek Village in Shingle Mill Canyon. For background, reference is made to our article of July 4, addressing the complexities involved with the fire, its status at that time and explaining how certain fire reporting jargon (such as containment) may be understood.
Size and containment data remain at 8,200 acres and 10 percent, respectively. Interior burning is continuing to put up considerable smoke. Reminder, no change in the containment percentage does not mean that progress is not being made. We explain this under caption “Containment assessment process” in our July 4 story on this fire.
Notice to members of the affected communities:
A community meeting was held at 6 p.m., Thursday at the Duck Creek Community Church to present an update on the fire situation.
Another community meeting is schedule to take place in Alton at 6 p.m.. Friday.
A new information telephone line for the Shingle Fire Information Center at the incident command post at Duck Creek has been established; it is 877-678-0641. The line is heavily overloaded with calls and a caller may reach a recording suggesting it is not in service – the number is good and it is recommended that you keep trying as needed. The hours of operation are from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm.
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Road closures to be lifted: Fire Information Officer, Mark Wilkening, said that Highway 14 will be opened to traffic at 6 a.m. on Friday, July 6.
Evacuations to be rescinded: Wilkening said that mandatory evacuations for those homes north of Highway 14 will be rescinded at 6 a.m. on Friday, July 6. Swains Creek mandatory evacuations will be rescinded at 6 a.m. on Saturday, July 7.
Status Reports dated July 4, 8 p.m., and July 5, 8 a.m., disseminated this morning by fire information officers, offer the following:
Cloud cover blanketed the fire area Wednesday, reducing temperatures and increasing relative humidity, along with providing a slight amount of precipitation, resulting in reduced fire behavior. Firefighters took advantage of the weather and made good progress on all flanks.
Overnight rains were observed at 0.01 to 0.02”. Cloud cover will stay in place until late morning and the incident meteorologist has predicted afternoon high temperatures to possibly trigger lightning. Firefighters will take advantage of the moister weather conditions.
The southwest flank was static with no movement. Firefighters patrolled and mopped-up hot spots near the line.
Along the west flank, in the Swains Creek area, firefighters were successful in holding the line, patrolling and mopping-up.
At the north end of the fire, near Harris Flat*, there was no fire progression. Firefighters continued to mop-up any detected smokes or hot spots. A large pumpkin (water holding tank) is being setup for helicopters to use for dipping water near this area of the fire. The close proximity to the fire allows helicopter to be more efficient and frequent water drops.
Along the northeast flank near Elk Ridge*, slash piled from a fuels treatment project burned out producing larger volumes of smoke from that area. Fire crews have a handline and dozer line along this flank and will continue to strengthen and hold these lines. Numerous engines continue to patrol and mop up in this area, as well.
Along the east flank, Stout Creek Road was used as an anchor point to construct hand dug fireline north along the east flank.
Along the southeast flank, the fire is hung-up in the rocks above Stout Canyon. A check line is being built in anticipation of the fire working its way through the rocks and was being held largely with fixed wing and helicopter airtanker drops, with minimal growth along this steep country perimeter.
The south end of the fire still has open line, but crews are constructing direct firelines to the burn perimeter as conditions are cool enough to allow this tactic.
Retardant planes and helicopters were heavily utilized throughout the entire fire in the afternoon to assist firefighters by cooling areas and assisting in fireline construction and mop-up to be completed safely.
Additional resources are continuing to arrive to assist in the suppression efforts.
Tonight numerous showers are expected after midnight to 9 a.m. tomorrow. Thunderstorms will be wet. Temperatures will be cooler in the mid-60s and low 70s with a relative humidity of 30-40 percent and wind southwest at 5-10 mph.
*Regarding Harris Flat and Elk Ridge, in the information release dated July 4, 8 p.m., received this morning the north end of the fire was identified as Elk Ridge, and the northeast flank as Harris Flat. In a subsequent release, dated July 5, 8 a.m., those identifications are swapped one with the other. We cite them per the later report, as further recommended by Wilkening; allow for the fact these may be reversed. We will update without comment if we determine a change is needed.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.