American Fire nearly contained; Rim Fire rages on

By From page A1 | August 30, 2013

While the Rim Fire in Tuolumne County moved up to being the sixth-largest fire in California history, the American Fire near Foresthill in Placer County was expected to be contained late Thursday.

“The Deer Fire, burning in Tehama County, and the American Fire, burning in Placer County, are both estimated to be fully contained later today,” Cal Fire’s Daniel Berlant wrote in a daily update. The Deer Fire, at about 11,400 acres 10 miles east of Los Molinos, was 98 percent contained Thursday morning. The American Fire, in the Tahoe National Forest northeast of Foresthill, was 97 percent contained at about 26,200 acres.

Wednesday saw mop-up operations and detecting and extinguishing hotspots. An update to the U.S. Forest Service’s InciWeb Website noted that “this careful and methodical work resulted in several hot spots being detected within the fire’s perimeter. Additional areas of heat are expected to be observed as weather becomes warmer and drier. This on-going continued work is critical to ensuring the fire remains within established containment lines.”

Areas damaged by the fire are also being attended to, and may take some time, the update read. “This includes chipping material piled next to roads during fire line construction as well as identifying needs to construct water control devices along fire lines throughout the fire area.”

There were 1,001 personnel fighting the fire Thursday, with 22 hand crews, 57 engines, three bulldozers, 28 water tenders and seven helicopters.

Progress continued on the Rim Fire, now about 197,700 acres or 301 square miles, with 30 percent containment. It is the sixth-largest fire in the state’s history, threatening 4,500 structures with 11 residences destroyed. It has also claimed three commercial buildings and 97 outbuildings.

Wednesday night, “firefighters continued their burning operations near Duckwall Mountian and Pilot Peak, and will continue to construct a fire line north to Fahey Cabin, and provided structure defense. Firefighters prepared for burning operations south of Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite National Park,” an InciWeb update read. “Burning operations are also expected near Duckwall Mountain and near Old Yosemite Road. Crews will continue with burning operations as long as weather conditions allow, and will construct and improve fire lines and provide structure defense.”

The fire has worked its way into Yosemite National Park, forcing the closures of some campgrounds including Tamarack Flat and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds and some evacuations.

There are 4,840 personnel fighting the fire, which has so far cost $39.2 million and injured three people.

The causes of the fires remains under investigation.

Berlant provided updates on the 10 major fires in the state:

Cal Fire incidents

Deer Fire, Tehama County
10 miles east of Los Molinos
11,429 acres — 98 percent contained
Full containment expected late Thursday

Federal fires

Fish Fire, Tulare County 

U.S. Forest Service — Sequoia National Forest 25 miles northeast of Springville
2,050 acres — 25 percent contained

Little Fire, Riverside County
U.S. Forest Service — San Bernardino National Forest off Highway 74 near Lake Hemet
97 acres — 95 percent contained

Gobblers Fire, San Bernardino County
U.S. Forest Service — San Bernardino National Forest six miles south of Wrightwood
413 acres — 93 percent contained

Orleans Complex, Siskiyou County
U.S. Forest Service — Six Rivers National Forest six miles southeast of Somes Bar
21,217 acres — 45 percent contained

Corral Complex, Humboldt County
U.S. Forest Service — Six Rivers National Forest east of the Hoopa Indian Reservation
11,828 acres — 17 percent contained

Salmon River Complex, Siskiyou County
U.S. Forest Service — Klamath National Forest one mile west of Sawyers Bar
14,720 acres — 95 percent contained

Aspen Fire, Fresno County
U.S. Forest Service — Sierra National Forest near Huntington Lake
22,791 acres — 95 percent contained.

Cole Mayer

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