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Hope Fire doubles in size within burn area

As high winds are expected this weekend, fire personnel prepare to keep the fire within its lines
The Hope Fire is northwest of McPhee Reservoir. Photo courtesy of InciWeb

The Hope Fire continued to burn this weekend as wind gusts picked up and were expected to reach 55 mph with continuous south winds between 25 to 35 mph.

By 12:16 p.m. Saturday, the fire had grown to 1,290 acres from Friday, and 101 personnel were managing it within the previously prescribed burn lines.

So far, the fire is still only 5% contained.

The lightning-sparked fire blazes at Hoppe Point, east of Bradfield Campground and Northwest of the McPhee Reservoir at the Dolores Ranger District where ponderosa pine and gambel oak understory dominate.

According to a news release, fire personnel have been working on the preexisting prescribed fire burn and preparing lines around the approximate 3,000-acre region.

Over the past two days, firefighters burned vegetation – understory and oak brush – between the main fire and containment lines to reduce threats and risks of future disastrous wildfires. Other fuels involved include pine litter and dead and downed trees.

Reducing forest fuels also improves forest health within the “ boundary lines” and protects private lands and infrastructure.

Saturday morning’s briefing on Sept. 30, 2023. Courtesy of InciWeb

These endeavors line up with the Forest Service’s 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which seeks to increase fire use on landscapes, along with other treatments, that will help improve the forest’s resiliency for future generations.

Currently no structures are under threat and no evacuations and closures are associated with the fire, but authorities advise hunters and recreationists to avoid the area.

Friday’s progress helped improve the lines around the fire with burnout operations.

The incident commander for the wildfire is an IC Type 3, meaning they spend extended time on initial attacks against wildfires and they shuffle their responsibilities between being a manager and a ‘doer.’

Saturday, fire operations continued to strengthen the containment lines to reinforce full fire suppression efforts as the expected winds blow in for the weekend.

Increased smoke is expected due to winds and the permitted active fire behavior attributed to burnout operations.

Along with high winds, scattered showers are expected to increase throughout the weekend, starting Saturday night.

Fire suppression efforts will continue through the windy gusts and firefighters will “look for opportunities to reinforce control lines through the weekend.”