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More smoke, not necessarily more fire

A lot of calls have been coming into the Forest Service incident command center for the Claremont Fire from concerned residents — particularly from Greenhorn and Spring Garden, but also from Graeagle — and officials want to ease some of the public’s concerns.

A public information officer explained that the southeast portion of the Claremont Fire near Highway 70, is smoldering and creating a lot of smoke. He said firefighters are watching it for hot spots. That smoke is drifting to the Graeagle area and causing concern, particularly as residents have seen the progression of evacuation notices from Quincy to Greenhorn to Cromberg (advisory only).

As for Greenhorn and Spring Garden residents, some are concerned about the sight of firefighters seemingly fighting the Claremont Fire in close proximity to their neighborhood. The spokesman explained that the crews are actually setting backfires as a proactive measure. By burning off the fuel in a controlled manner, it give the crews something to defend against if the actual fire arrives. “We want to ensure the residents that they’re not actually battling fire,” he said.

This was one of the first days that firefighters have been able to put resources to actually fighting the fire instead of strictly working on structure protection. Last night’s light rain put moisture into the air, which allows the firefighters to mop up and eliminate the chance for future embers.

This is the time of day, 4 p.m., when things could change depending on afternoon winds, but this is the latest information for now.

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