A day of localized rain was enough to slow, but not stop a couple local wildland fires from spreading Thursday.
“Thursday was wet across much of the west zone of the Chetco Fire. After numerous, sometimes intense, showers, some places had received a quarter to half inch of precipitation. Some sites even received a full inch of rain,” a release said Friday.
“Every bit of rain helps,” said Operations Section Chief Pat Halford. “It temporarily raises the humidity, dampens the fuels, reduces fire activity and slows fire growth.” However, in other areas, the rain was not enough to penetrate the forest canopy and reach the ground, so it wasn’t able to make a difference.
Firefighters were able to use the slowed spread to strengthen the west side of the now 177,000 acre Chetco Bar Fire and reduce impacts to private lands.
“Firefighters will continue to remove brush and vegetation along containment and contingency lines, and ensure that hoselays are in place and functioning properly,” according to a release from the incident command center.
Some residents were allowed to return to their homes when a previous Level 3 Evacuation order was reduced Friday.
Firefighters are continuing efforts to patrol for spot fires, construct fire lines and extinguish hot spots. Oregon fire officials predicted the wet vegetation would dry in 24 to 48 hours.
“Firefighters will be taking advantage of this respite to continue their work. They will be attentive to the locations where more active fire potential still exists and the time it will return. Weather will dry out, heat up, and become more windy from Saturday to Monday,” the report stated.
Fire officials reported Friday that the Eclipse Fire Complex was 25 percent contained.
“Recent rains have moderated fire behavior, however fire is still active in areas of the Eclipse Complex,” the Friday report said. “One last chance for precipitation comes today, and then diminishes.” High temperatures and low humidity were expected to return.
Rain significantly slowed the Oak fire, the largest in the complex, allowing firefighters to directly cut off the spread along Blue Ridge and the south fork of the Smith River.
“Crews plan to complete lines north to Kelly Lake to ensure long-term protection of Indian Creek from any remaining fire activity in the Siskiyou Wilderness,” the report states.
Smoke from area fires was significantly decreased in the Crescent City area Friday.
While there are no current evacuations in Del Norte County, residents are encouraged to utilize the Del Norte Community Alert System to remain informed about issues that may affect local safety. Go to prepareddelnorte.com to sign up.