Monday, Aug. 24
By Laurelle Walsh
Speaking from fire camp just north of Twisp Monday morning (Aug. 24), Operations Branch Director Mike Tombolato predicted operations on the Twisp River Fire would be “in mop-up mode by mid-week.”
Strike teams managed by the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team are bulldozing lines and conducting burn outs along the fire’s right flank on the slopes above Pine Forest, and left flank in the Cow Creek drainage above Twisp River Road.
Crews that were conducting burn outs on Cow Creek rolled in to fire camp late Sunday night – around 11:30 p.m. – after successfully tying in control lines in the southeast corner of the fire, according to Tombolato. The goal is to “pinch off” the fire at Thompson Ridge Road.
“Burn out ops are much easier and safer in the cooler evening hours when fire behavior is more mellow,” Tombolato said. “If everything goes well, burn outs should be over after tonight; however, if we get a lot of wind all bets are off,” he added.
The night crew – five engines staffed by four firefighters each, plus a supervisor – patrol areas “identified during the day to keep an eye on,” ensuring that the fire line holds overnight, Tombolato said. “They move around a lot at night,” he added.
Bringing another perspective to our smoke-filled atmosphere, Tombolato hoped the inversion layer, which is holding smoke in the valley, remains for a few days, he said. “It’s helping us out a lot,” he said, explaining that the smoke “kind of caps the environment,” moderating temperatures, trapping moisture and raising the relative humidity.