American Fire 60% contained, a drop from two days ago
Another portion of the fire on the northeast side is now a focus for containment, said Peter Frenzen, information officer for California Interagency Incident Management Team 4. According to incident information website www.Inciweb.org
The American Fire was eastward Thursday, forcing firefighters to set up new fire lines to hold it along the Western States Trail.
The 13-day-old fire’s burn footprint had grown to 16,812 acres by Thursday, with fire officials estimating that containment was at 60 percent.
Containing the fire was proving a challenge, despite the presence of 1,866 firefighters and support personnel — an increase from 1,822 on Wednesday.
The burn footprint was estimated at 15,700 acres Wednesday, and containment was 63 percent.
One positive development was the lack of lightning in and around the fire after the National Weather Service had forecast possible lightning and high winds through late Wednesday. Peter Frenzen, information officer for the California Interagency Management fire strategy team, said Thursday that the lightning strikes rolled through the area but none came closer than 20 miles away.
“We dodged that bullet,” Frenzen said.
But a change in atmospheric conditions lifted a veil of smoky haze in the fire area that had been shading the fire on the ground and keeping it from spreading in the heat, he said. That is leaving firefighters battling blazes that are spreading more quickly than earlier in the week.
One of the continuing areas of concern contains Antoine, Manila and Screwauger Canyons and forested land below Barney Cavanah Ridge. Consumption of heavy fuels in those and other areas will continue to contribute to smoke in surrounding areas.
“We’re having an intense period of fire activity,” Frenzen said. “We have a much clearer but unstable atmosphere, with canyons getting up-valley winds.”
Some areas are ...