The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the Jefferson County Incident Management Team received a number of briefings this morning.
Approximately 100 personnel are currently involved in fighting the Blue Bell fire. Firefighters remained on the fire through the evening and into the morning. These firefighters were actively digging line and fighting the fire throughout the night.
Despite the overnight cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity, the fire continued to to actively burn inside the perimeter - primarily within the areas of heavier fuel. A number of flare ups were observed and fought throughout the night. Firefighters were able to manage those flare ups and as a result they prevented the fire from spreading beyond the simple containment lines that have been dug around the entire fire.
This morning the fire is laying down, but the area is still heavily covered in smoke. This is an indicator that the heavy fuels are continuing to burn and that there is a great amount of fire heat within the fire perimeter. As a result, the primary goal for the firefighters today is to expand the simple containment line to a full control line. This will be done by creating an approximate 200 foot control line all the way around the fire. The Type II Helicopter will continue to be on scene and available to assist the fire fighters on the ground as they create this control line.
Due to the presence of heavy fuels the public can expect to see smoke potentially as far out as a week - even as containment and control continues to be increased.
The weather will play an important role today. Temperatures are expected to be cooler than yesterday with a maximum temp ranging from 63-73 degrees. Firefighters will be watching incoming weather patterns that may take shape in the afternoon. These patterns may include increased winds, thunderstorms and lightning.
The mandatory evacuation area from last night has not changed. Roads north of Hemlock Lane off of Brook Forest Drive remain closed to all public. A number of other roads in the area will be limited to 'residents only'. The Jefferson County Sheriff's office will be in the area to facilitate the ongoing road restrictions and closures. The public is asked to avoid the area in order to allow firefighters safe and efficient access to the area.
The evacuation shelter at Conifer High School remains open and is being operated by the American Red Cross. The Salvation Army is supporting the incident operations at the Evergreen Fire Headquarters.
Stay tuned to this blog and to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Twitter page for additional updates.