As of Tuesday morning, Sept. 21, the Cougar Peak Fire had grown slightly to 91,392 and was 49% contained. Northwest Incident Management Team 12, led by Incident Commander Jeff Dimke, will be shadowing Northwest Incident Management Team 8 to learn about the Cougar Peak Fire before taking command on Thursday morning, Sept. 23.
According to a Tuesday fire update from Northwest Incident Management Team 8, the precipitation from past days and cooler weather have helped firefighters make great strides toward containment of the Cougar Peak Fire. Resources will continue to mop-up as large fuels across the fire area continue to smolder and cause smoke. Suppression repairs to dozer line berms and backhaul of equipment has started in contained areas across the fire.
On Monday, Sept. 20, crews worked to finish line construction on the south-western side and continued mop-up. Along the western edge fire, managers have continued to assess options for line and mop-up along the 3910 road. There is still a fair amount of heat in the area. As the humidity continues to drop, and temperatures rise, people should expect to see more smoke.
Firefighters will continue to spend a considerable amount of effort along the western edge, the update noted.
On the north end of the fire, along the sage and grasslands where access by vehicle is difficult, fire crews walked and cold trailed the line. Very little heat was found. Along the eastern edge down to the southeast corner, mop-up and suppression repairs will continue.
On Tuesday, crews continued mop-up and were on the lookout for hot spots. “Crews are using extra caution looking for weakened standing or leaning snag trees. Fallers and equipment are cutting down snags and hazard trees close to the roadways and in areas firefighters are working,” the update said.
Resources on the Cougar Peak Fire have done an extraordinary job keeping an exceptional safety record. Suppression actions have greatly reduced the chances of seeing extremely active fire behavior. Warm and dry conditions may allow areas of unburned fuels to pick up in activity, and torching is possible. Northwest Incident Management Team 8 said the potential for active fire behavior is increasing from what was seen over recent days.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office evacuation levels changed on Sunday, Sept. 19. There will still be Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 evacuations in and around the Cougar Peak Fire. For further information, visit the Lake County website at https://www.lakecountyor.org/index.php or see the Lake County, Oregon Facebook page.