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Resources arrive to help fight the Bear Fire, but some were quickly diverted to the Claremont Fire where the Greenhorn subdivision was threatened. Photo courtesy of Haskins Valley Resort

Aug. 30: UPDATE: Bear Fire on the prowl

UPDATE 9 p.m.: Today’s smoke brought bad news and good news to the Bear Fire. While it impacted visibility and prevented aircraft from providing much reconnaissance to support firefighters on the ground, it helped to prevent significant fire growth.

The Bear Fire did grow to the west and crossed Willow Creek, but activity was minimal compared to Saturday. The fire also grew to the east, in the area of Deadman Spring.

With structure protection resources in place in Bucks Lake, Haskin Valley and surrounding areas, the priority of the day was to build indirect line to the north and northwest of the fire in case the fire ran toward those communities.

Original story: The Bear Fire grew yesterday afternoon to 9,054 acres as westerly winds pushed the fire to the east, but engines that had just arrived to fight the blaze had to be diverted to the Claremont Fire because spot fires were threatening homes in the Greenhorn subdivision. The fire is still 0 percent contained, but to date no structures have been damaged or destroyed.

Firefighters continued to work on indirect line north and west of the Bear Fire to protect the communities in that area and are prepping lines if firing operations are required in the future.

A dry cold front is forecast to move in today. The front will bring north winds and lower humidity. This combination will encourage fire activity and push much of the growth to the south and west.

Dozer lines have been completed across the north of the fire to prevent any push toward Meadow Valley, Quincy and Tollgate. There is the potential for the Bear and Claremont fires to merge south of those communities and firefighters want to be prepared.

The Bear Fire, which broke out Aug. 17, received little attention initially (a crew was dropped in, but had to retreat due to the difficult terrain), but with scarce resources, firefighters and equipment were devoted to the fires threatening people and property. Those efforts were focused not only on the Claremont and Sheep Fires, but a host of little fires that threatened communities and forced evacuations in Indian Valley.

But the situation has changed. The little fires are all controlled, contained or out, and the Bear Fire has grown to the point that it is now a threat to people and property. Wednesday, an advisory evacuation notice was issued for a portion of Bucks Lake. The evacuation advisory extends south of Bucks Lake Lodge to include Big Creek Road from Bucklin Road to China Gulch and south of Big Creek Road to Mount Ararat.

The Bear Fire is located on the Pacific Crest Trail, 1-mile northwest of Butte Bar Campground and 1.5 southeast of Lookout Rock. The Pacific Crest Trail from Onion Valley to Bucks Summit remains closed. It broke out Aug. 17 following a lightning strike.

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