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National Forest Service reminds pilots of flight restriction near Shawnee Peak fire

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Posted at 10:16 AM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 12:16:42-04

PARK COUNTY — The Shawnee Peak fire has been burning in the Lost Creek Wilderness area near Bailey for over one week.

The National Forest Service issued a Temporary Flight Restriction on Aug. 27 and there has already been three violations. One of the violations occurred earlier this week when a small, single engine airplane entered the restricted airspace.

Violations of the flight restriction delays fire crews working on suppressing the fire. NFS said fire operations have to return to base or a closest helispot until the air is clear. This could disrupt operations, such as hauling cargo, dropping water or rescuing an injured firefighter.

The agency said pilots are responsible for knowing when and where a flight restriction is.

Firefighters will continue to patrol along fire containment lines Wednesday and monitor for any hotspots.

The crews contained a new fire ignition Monday that NFS reported a quarter of a mile north of the Shawnee Peak fire and determined Wednesday it was caused by someone in the area.

NFS said the management strategy for the fire continues to be a full-scale suppression strategy, which prioritizes firefighter and public safety while utilizing tactics that lend to the highest probability of success.

There are 65 personnel working on both air and ground support, including hot shot crews and helicopters.

NFS said no structures are threatened by the fire and no evacuations are in place.

The Shawnee Peak fire was first reported Aug. 26 and lightning was determined to be the cause.