Initial Attack is critical in suppressing a wildfire, and in the Rough Creek incident the initial attack was excellent. Resources, such as Hot Shots, dozers, and aircraft were readily available due to the timing of the event. No other fires were in the area and pre-positioned resources were able to immediately assist. 6 Hot Shot crews were quickly able to come and support the initial attack crew, along with 2 strike teams of engines, multiple single engine aircraft and 2 larger Canadian air tankers. Local contractors were able to contribute dozers, and the district was able to organize a Type 3 team consisting of experienced local fire officials.
Fire officials called in a Regional Type 2 team to support the effort and they arrived on July 14. Zone Fire Management Officer, Bob Lippincott states that “the local knowledge of the area and the management strategies of the Incident Management Teams were executed effectively on all levels; firefighting, cost, and exposure of resources.”
Prescribed burning, timber sale treatment, and historic wildfires can also affect the intensity of a wildfire. The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests have focused on reducing fuels in high fire prone areas, such as the Berg Mountain area. Reducing the fuel load can in-turn reduce the number and size of catastrophic fires. The Nez Perce-Clearwater NFs have performed more than approximately 450 acres of prescribed burns in the previous year and continues to reduce fuel loads through timber sales.
The Rough Creek Incident was early in the season and according to Salmon District Fire Management Officer Kevin Chaffee, the canyon remains green and the fire spread slower than what will be seen later in the season. However, the right people being in the right place also played a big part in the rapid suppression of the Rough Creek fire.