7:30 p.m. update: According to tonight’s briefing, the Minerva Fire is now 64 percent contained and at 4,288 acres. The increase in acres is due to burnout today. There are 1,660 personnel staffing the fire.
8:30 a.m. update: The voluntary evacuation for downtown Quincy residents was lifted as of 8 a.m. this morning and the evacuation center is closed. The fire is now 56 percent contained and stands at 4,088 acres. Part of the increase in acreage is due to the successful burnouts on the fire.
7 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 6: “Really, really good night.” That’s how Steve Watkins, night ops chief, described last night’s effort to quell the Minerva Fire. Just 90 minutes before the 6 a.m. briefing began, crews working in the Mill Creek drainage area successfully merged two burnouts combining two of the fire’s divisions. Crews in the area also put out hot spots, and mop-up work continued on other areas of the fires.
Weather definitely aided the crews’ work yesterday afternoon and last night with cooler temperatures, light winds and some precipitation, but today’s weather is predicted to be more unsettled with thunderstorms and stronger winds. “Thunderstorms can push fires erratically,” the firefighters were told and they were advised to be on the lookout for “running, crowning and spotting.”
Despite those warnings, the overall tenor of the briefing was decidedly more upbeat than on prior mornings. With the burnouts and line building complete, firefighters now turn their attention to securing line, mopping up, restoring the area, and fighting any spot fires.
“We got all the burning complete, but the work is not complete,” Steve Griffin from incident command told the firefighters. “Keep safe. The mop up, suppression and repair work is just as dangerous as burning and line building.”
Eight helicopters stand ready to assist today as needed.