7/16 From Dan Brocious The Florida fire status near Mt. Hopkins has not greatly changed since our last reports yesterday. The fire has not yet crossed the line running through Josephine Canyon to Jack Mountain, and the fire fighters have not yet started back fires to attempt to protect our observatories. However, the expectation remains that the fire will corss the line and then head quickly uphill towards the MMT and FLWO. Control over the fire has improved in other areas, so more resources are becoming available to fight the fire in our area. Large helicopters are continuously dumping water and fire retardant. Unfortunately, humidity is dropping and the skies are mostly clear. More news later. 7/15/05 note from Steve Criswell The first team on the fire attempted to hold the west side of the fire at the bottom of Madera/Josephine Canyon. Thursday night a new team took over. The new team will continue to fight the fire at the base of Madera/Josephine Canyons, but they feel that they will loose the fight and have to evacuate for crew safety. Once the fire crosses the Canyons, it could reach FLWO within two hours. This could happen any time in the next several days. The new team's plan to protect FLWO is a follows: a. They feel FLWO has been well brushed by both FLWO efforts in the past and the the last several days work by the previous team. b. They have sent 4 fire engines to the mountain to fight spot fires. c. The are establishing two retardant drip stations. One will be by the basecamp. They will use these bases, several helicopters, and 21 tankers trucks to ring FLWO with retardant. d. If the fire starts up the hill to FLWO, they will light backfires below the retardant ring. e. Even if the fire crosses FLWO, they fell they may be able to save most if not all of the buildings. They may even be able to keep personnel at FLWO during the passage. The fire is now 20,000 acres, the current team is predicting it will grow to 60,000 acres. The new fire hold line is at the top of Montosa Canyon. FLWO Operations We plan to continue VERITAS basecamp operations. The 40T crane will arrive Monday to place the shed. There will be one person at the basecamp over the weekend during daylight hours. Call my number 520 670 5702 to contact this person. All mountain dorms are closed. If you are coming to the basecamp you will have to find a motel. This could be difficult with 800 fire fighters in the area. The Rex Ranch (520 398 2914) has openings at $55/night. Other than Nomexed people (Dennis, Emilio and Wayne), no one should go to the mountain. When they go to the mountain, they must receive permission of the crew chief at FLWO. It is unlikely that non Nomexed FLWO/MMT personnel will be allowed on the mountain over the weekend. It could be a week before we get back on the mountain.