FREDONIA — Today the Locust Fire has increased to a little more than 200 acres. Weather continues to be a driving factor in helping fire managers determine the strategy for managing the fire for multiple objectives. Some of those objectives are: allowing natural fire to play its role as a disturbance factor in the ecosystem, enhancing wildlife habitat, improving forest health, and reducing potential for uncharacteristic high-severity wildfires in future years.
Today’s movement tracked east, northeast with prevailing wind gusts from south, southwest up to 25 miles per hour. Despite windy conditions, crews completed prepping the perimeter and are masticating smaller fuels into chips, which have a lower fuel classification. The mastication increases the efficiency of the prep-work and provides for firefighter safety.
Fuel classification is part of the National Fire Danger Rating System, in which fuels possessing common characteristics are grouped. Dead fuels are grouped according to 1-, 10-, 100-, and 1000-hour intervals; the time it would take for fire to completely consume that fuel source.
“The Locust Fire is meeting our objectives and behaving the way that we anticipated, thanks to the planning and prepping that was done, which is keeping us well ahead of the game,” said Brandon Allen, Locust Fire Incident Commander trainee. Fire behavior today continued to grow at a steady but persistent rate; roughly 132-feet-per hour.
Tomorrow, fire crews plan to continue chipping fuels around designated perimeter roads and implementing firing operations when necessary for managing the fire.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast calls for continued hot and dry conditions. Fire activity may likely increase as fuels continue to dry out.