Haze masks progress on Motion and Moon fires west of Redding

Haze masks progress on Motion and Moon fires west of Redding

20 July 2008

published by www.redding.com

USA — Staring at the bank of smoke west of Redding this morning, it’s hard to tell all of the progress that firefighters have made on the Motion and Moon fires.

But fire officials predict 100 percent containment of the two fires by Monday evening, owing to advances made by fire crews Saturday. If the projections hold true, full containment would come one month after a devastating lightning storm pummeled Shasta County and started hundreds of landscape-altering wildfires.

“We’re starting to get close to containment on both of the fires,” California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention spokeswoman Linda Galvan said this morning. “I think we’re wrapping up,” she said.

Fire officials working on the Shasta-Trinity Lightning Complex as late as Saturday thought the Motion and Moon fires wouldn’t be contained until Friday. However, that changed when fire crews completed all of their burnout operations Saturday and fire lines remained solid, Galvan said.

Fire still is consuming islands of brush within the perimeter of the 28,336-acre Motion Fire, which was 80 percent contained this morning. The Moon Fire to the south remained at 29,031 acres and was 95 percent contained.

With confidence growing, some fire crews are demobilizing — either getting some time off before coming back or being reassigned to other fires in the state. As of this morning, more than 2,000 firefighters still were committed to the two active fires because mop-up work is needed and fire lines have to be reinforced, Galvan said.

Aircraft may be heading elsewhere to more pressing wildfires. “A lot of our helicopters are going to other fires,” Galvan added.

Crews remain wary of the Motion Fire because it still has the potential to threaten the Whiskey Creek campground and day use areas in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. “There still is a threat out there,” Galvan said.

All advisory evacuations have been lifted related to the two fires. However a mandatory evacuation and road closure remain in place for the Whiskey Creek area above the old store, although the boat ramp may reopen sometime today.

In the meantime, Highway 299 is open without restrictions in Shasta County, although motorists should expect periodic highway closures in Trinity County due to the presence of fire equipment and personnel.

The Shasta-Trinity Lightning Complex consisted of 158 fires, of which the Motion and the Moon are the remaining active ones. A total of 86,500 acres have burned, destroying six residences and 16 outbuildings, and damaging three other structures, officials said.

Firefighting costs are $48.3 million to date and 47 fire personnel have been injured since the fires started burning beginning at 5 a.m. June 21.

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