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Northern California fire reaches 27,408 acres burned, 80 percent containment

by Jackson Guilfoil, Eureka (Calif.) Times-Standard |

Northwestern California’s Six Rivers Lightning Complex had scorched 27,408 acres of land as of Tuesday, but firefighters edged closer to full containment, having reached 80 percent.

Helpful weather conditions, such as the marine layer, have aided firefighters contain the flames, with fire intensity kept relatively low by the weather. The clear skies have allowed aerial support for firefighters, who will continue to establish fire lines aimed at halting the fire’s spread.

The conditions have resulted in several evacuation orders being downgraded to evacuation warnings, in which residents may return to their homes, but should be ready to evacuate again if the need arises.

“What’s challenging us right now is these areas, particularly up there by Horse Range and Waterman Ridge,” said Kimberly Kaschalk, a public information officer with the California Interagency Incident Management Team 14. “They’re very, very steep. There’s a lot of hazardous trees in the area. We want to get our boots on the ground, but we also have to account for firefighter safety, so it’s very slow and meticulous. We’re hoping to increase that containment, but we don’t know a set time schedule. We’re trying to get it done as soon as possible.”

After the firefighters reach full containment on the complex, Kaschalk said that fires can continue burning for weeks or months, though the exact timeline on this specific fire complex is unclear.

Firefighters continue to strengthen fire lines on the Ammon and Campbell fires, though the latter is more active. Existing containment lines remain intact.

Even after the fire is contained, fire personnel will continue to work on land repair and reduce hazardous fuels that survived the fire.

“We don’t just say, ‘Okay, the fire is out’ and be done with it,” Kaschalk said. “Just because it’s contained, it doesn’t mean the work’s over. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”