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Team 4 takes over Chips Fire

Samantha P. Hawthorne
Staff Writer
8/20/2012

A meeting to discuss the Chips Fire was held 12:30 p.m., Aug. 20, 2012 at Hamilton Branch Fire District.

The fire has been upgraded to a type 1 fire and is now being managed by California Intradistrict Management Team 4.

“We are very fortunate to have an incredible amount of resources from California. Due to the complexity of the fire, we are able to bring in additional resources as needed,” said Team 4 Incident Manager Rocky Oplinger.

For the last three days, direct firefighting has been used. Team 4 adopted an offensive approach using a burnout operation. So far, this has proved to be a success.

Fire embers are producing spot fires at a maximum of one mile away from the fire. Crews are working on creating defensible space by completing burnouts approximately 2 miles outside the fire.

The fire traveled four miles Aug. 19 with no winds. An advisory has been issued for southwest winds at 20-25 mile per hour Aug. 21, the harshest wind that has passed through the fire.

Firefighters prepared in advance for these winds and have made sure all lines are in place. Burnouts will continue on the east side in order to secure the lines before the increased winds arrive.

The entire fire has been boxed in and ground fuel has been reduced by the burnouts.

“I am optimistic that the burnout operations will be successful in combating the increased winds,” said Oplinger.

Highway 147 opened back up this morning and if a future threat is detected, the sheriff will close it again.

Volunteers are needed to assist with the Prattville evacuations. Volunteers are meeting at the boat ramp in Plumas Pines. Meeting times were not disclosed.

In case of evacuation, small pets can be taken to Plumas County Animal Shelter. No specific arrangements have been announced for boarding of large animals; however, if you are in need of arrangements, contact Plumas County Sheriff’s Office.

Logging operations have not been suspended as rumors may suggest; however, Jerry Bird, supervisor of Lassen National Forest, will be issuing a ban on firewood gathering until conditions permit.

“There is no science to a fire. The day we quit learning is the day we need to quit working. Every day in the field we learn more about fire behavior and how to control it,” closed Oplinger.

Additional fire information can be found at HYPERLINK http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3052/ or (530) 283-3593 and (530) 283-3288 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.

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