USA — A weekendfire in rangeland west of the Tule River Indian Reservation had burned more than2,100 acres by Monday.
The more than 400 firefighters fighting the blaze had it about 85 percentcontained by late afternoon, officials said. It was expected to be fully undercontrol by 6 a.m. today, CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Paul Marquez said.
The fire started Sunday in cattle-grazing land east and south of ReservationRoad, but investigators had not determined a cause by late Monday afternoon. Itcould take several days to burn out completely. On Sunday, five aerial tankersand two helicopters dropped large amounts of water and fire-retardant on thefire while a bulldozer dug out small trenches that helped stop the flames’spread. The “dozer line” protected two threatened homes, said BeckiRedwine, a fire prevention specialist for CAL FIRE.
By Monday, the fire crews many working in steep terrain requiring them tofight the flames with hand tools had gained the upper hand with the help oftwo water-dropping helicopters.
Besides the terrain, the crews also had to contend with hot, summer-likeweather.
“Ninety-five [degrees] isn’t the worst, but they’re doing the best theycan staying hydrated,” Redwine said.
No injuries among firefighters were reported, she said.
Marquez said that early Monday morning, 16 firefighters from TulareCounty-based units were sent south to help fight the 2,400-acre Goldledge Firein the Sequoia National Forest. The fire is located about 10 miles northeast ofKernville in Tulare County.
The Tulare City Fire Department also sent three of its firefighters toparticipate in a fire-strike group that would work to protect homes in the area.The Goldledge Fire, which was reported late Sunday morning and aggravated Mondayby high winds, prompted National Forest Service officials to urge homeowners toleave the Horse Meadow area on the Kern Plateau.
“The winds were erratic and shifting, and the fire was burning reallyintense this afternoon,” Geri Adams, a spokeswoman for the Forest Service,said Monday.
The fire was “human-caused,” Adams said.
Forest Service officials are looking for more than one person seen leavingthe Goldledge Campground Monday in a white Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck with asliding rear window.
More than 450 firefighters were battling the blaze on Monday. By lateafternoon, Adams said, the Forest Service had no estimate on when the fire crewsmight contain the blaze.