As of today the Shingle forest fire is 75% contained and they say that it will be 100% contained by tomorrow evening. Contained doesn't mean that all of the fire is extinguished. What it means is that they will have a 300 ft cleared area around the entire area that has burned by tomorrow evening. They feel that this will keep it from spreading no matter what happens. They say that it won't be completely out until a major rain event puts it out, even though local fire fighters will continue to try to find hot spots and put them out, or at least lower the temperature.
We learned so much about how forest fires are fought today. It looks to us like a military operation in it's complexity. When the fire started it was fought by local fire fighters (Class III), but they very quickly realized that they were in way over their heads and ordered a Class II operation which arrived in a couple of days from Oregon. They were on the road within 2 hours of being notified, and they bring their whole operation with them. There are about 65 of these Class II operations located all over the country. There are also about 15 Class I firefighting operations that are for the very big fires like the ones now in Colorado.
We didn't know this until today, but when it broke out the Shingle fire was soon considered to be the #1 fire in the country because of the number of structures close to it. They wanted a Class I operation, but none were available, so they got a Class II instead, which seems to have done the job very nicely. They have firefighters from Alaska, Arizona, the east coast and other locations across the country in their operation. It's comforting to know that people as dedicated and professional as those that we saw are out there to protect our forests and homes. This was a real eye opener for both Nancy and I. There are currently 877 people working on the Shingle fire. Very complicated operation.
6000 calories a day are what's required to fuel a firefighter on the front lines. That's a lot of food, which is catered. Medics are stationed in the field surrounding the fire and they have a small hospital located at the incident base.
They keep a fixed wing airplane in the air all of the time during the day to act as an air traffic controller for all of the aircraft that are entering and leaving the airspace of the fire area with water and fire retardants.
I can't begin to tell you how impressed both Nancy and I are by what we saw today.
Nancy volunteered to dress up like a firefighter, and everyone seemed to get a kick out of that, most of all me. What a ham she is!