Cascade Creek Fire on Mt. Adams
Fire reports and information:
Fire Update Oct. 8
Fire Progression Map Oct. 2
Fire Closure Order
Pacific Crest Trail Closure:
An updated closure to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail on the south end of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest has been released. The PCT is now closed in the Mt. Adams Wilderness from Williams Mine to Potato Hill Trailheads. All access to the Mt. Adams Wilderness is closed at this time. A closure area map is available here.
The closure is meant to protect hiker and other recreationist safety due to increased fire behavior of the Cascade Creek Fire near Mt. Adams.
Hikers can call the district office for more information or help in planning at 509-395-3402.
Cattlemen and Firefighters Work Together to Ensure Cattle Make it to Winter Range
When the Cascade Creek Wildfire ignited on Sept. 8, cattle from the Kayser Cattle Company were still grazing on the 32,000-acre allotment Neil Kayser and his family use through a grazing permit with the United States Forest Service. Through coordination with the Mt. Adams Ranger District, Neil Kayser and his son Jess had to don protective fire gear and ride into the fire perimeter, driving 20 pair of cattle to safety. No cattle are known to have been lost. Over the past few weeks the Kayser cattle have continued to graze southeast of the fire. Now it is time to round up 500 animals and move them to their winter range.
The Kayser family has been doing this since the early 1900s and each year they look forward to this family affair. "It’s bred into us," says Kayser, "the entire family helps out." When asked the youngest age of this year’s helpers, Neil and Jess thought about it for a moment and replied, "Four years old, but we have a few between the ages of seven and 10 that will be on horses."
"Fire greatly affects peoples’ lives and we want to accommodate the local needs the best we can while still providing for everyone’s safety," said Incident Commander Larry Nickey. "It is the time of year that cattle need to be moved from summer to winter range; we want to ensure this is possible while continuing to meet our incident objectives."
The Kaysers are familiar with fire and its effects on the forest ecosystem. They are working closely with Washington Interagency Incident Management Team 4 to safely access their allotment where the cattle play an important role in forest health. "The cattle reduce light fuels through grazing and will eventually provide high quality beef to the consumer," Kayser said.
Over the next two weeks, the Kayser family will bring the historic "Cow Camp" (pictured below) to life, driving and corralling cattle in a family tradition that is over 100 years old. It may look peaceful now, but in a few days this camp will be a booming operation while the Cascade Creek Wildfire continues to burn just a half mile to the north.
Hawaiian Incident Management Team at Cascade Creek Fire
Five members of the Honolulu Fire Department are shadowing Washington Incident Management Team #3 personnel during their response to the Cascade Creek Fire on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The Hawaiian’s visit is part of a mission to prepare their team for incident management and protection on the Hawaiian Islands and greater Pacific Basin. Incident management teams are all risk teams, not only managing wildfires, but any kind of incident that requires management.
Jeff Farris is the Assistant Fire Chief for Honolulu, providing emergency response services to the 604 square-mile island of Oahu. They provide structural fire protection in communities on the island, hazardous materials response and port fire protection.
The group has come to the fire on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest as part of an all hazards incident management team training program including all four counties comprising the state of Hawaii. The initiative is to have all emergency responders trained for a state or regional response capability in any incident.
“Right now there is not a process for mutual aid between islands and counties in Hawaii,” said Farris. “Seeing how the process works in support, operations and planning here on the Cascade Creek Fire will be very beneficial to our effort.”
“You’re not going to get this stuff out of a book,” Farris continued. “Some of these guys have been at it for 30 years – we are just observing – this is something we want to be able to take home and do ourselves.”
Farris spoke about the other members of the team visiting the fire.
Debbie Eleneki is an engine captain at the Honolulu Fire Department. Eleneki serves as the Special Assistant in the Administrative Services Bureau. She serves in an oversight capacity overseeing maintenance, facilities, human resources and other such logistical needs in incident response. Her dad is a retired firefighter and all four of her brothers serve in fire departments.
Matty Miguel is a captain on one of two hazardous materials trucks on a full-time basis. Miguel is shadowing the safety officer, and will fill that role when an incident response occurs.
Dale Mosher is a Fire Operations Division Bureau Specialist. He provides technical rescue, hazardous materials services and equipment management. Mosher is shadowing the Operations Section Chief.
Geoff Chan is a Resource Unit Leader and works in the Fire Operations Division managing the A Division, which includes three battalions.
This is the first time they have traveled to train on an incident on the main-land. Another group from the team did make one prior trip to the Whitewater-Baldy Fire, the largest ever in New Mexico state history. That makes this training endeavor only the second ever time incident responders from Honolulu have made training excursions like this.
Farris said these trips are made possible by grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security. On return home, they will exercise what they have learned during an upcoming Blue Angels demonstration, and be ready for any possible incident during the show.
“We will use what we learn locally on our island, and could also respond to emergencies anywhere in the Pacific Basin at places like Guam and American Samoa,” Farris continued. “When needed, we will send people to other islands to join response teams there, hurricanes are a big threat in the Pacific.”
“We all think the scenery is just awesome,” Farris said when asked what he thought of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. “On the island the forest is so small. On the way to work every day, I drive through the whole thing in four minutes.”