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Sept. 1 Bear Fire: UPDATED: Also spread west

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: The Bear Fire is reported to be 10,504 acres and 14 percent contained.

Today’s easterly winds produced increased fire activity on the Bear Fire today. The fire continued its western spread out of Willow Creek drainage toward the face of Mount Ararat and dozer lines that have been built to protect the Highlands, Haskins Valley, Bucks Lake and surrounding communities. With the fire in difficult and rugged terrain, firefighters continue to focus on indirect lines while searching for areas where they can safely insert personnel to go direct.

UPDATE: 9:10 a.m.: The Forest Service released its objectives for today on the Bear Fire. Crews will strengthen line and utilize the interior road system to build indirect lines as well as seek out opportunities to go more direct along the fire’s edge. Structure protection units are in place throughout the area west and northwest of the fire including the Highlands community, Bucks Lake, Haskins Valley, and other significant structural assets. Residents have reported seeing firefighters assessing properties, checking driveways for accessibility, etc.

As for weather and air quality, east winds and lower humidity will return today and could result in increased fire activity, especially along the fire’s western edge. Temperatures will remain warm as the forecast calls for a chance of record highs in the coming days. Northeast and east winds today and tonight will lead to good air quality conditions east and north of the North Complex fires, but areas to the west of the fires, including the La Porte and Little Grass Valley Reservoir, will be in the path of the smoke. Light to moderate smoke will impact the Oroville area throughout the day. Smoke will settle into valleys west and southwest of the fires tonight. Quincy will continue to see poor air quality, but likely be improved compared to Monday. (Residents are enjoying blue skies at least for now.)

Original story: The Bear Fire is 10,170 acres and 10 percent contained.

A welcome sight yesterday near Bucks Lake as helicopters were able to fight the Bear Fire once the smoke cleared. Photo courtesy of Haskins Valley Inn

The smoke finally cleared enough to allow firefighters to take to the air to fight the fire yesterday. Helicopters dropped 15,000 gallons of retardant on the southwest edge of the fire as it pushed toward Hose Mine in the Willow Creek drainage. The wind shift and clear air allowed the fire to breath but growth was minimal at less than 200 acres.

Fire activity throughout the rest of the Bear perimeter was moderate, but interior pockets of fuel continued to burn. Personnel are scouting for areas where crews can take direct action along the fire’s edge, but, given the terrain and resources available, indirect line remains the focus.

Indirect dozer lines are now around the perimeter of the fire. Due to the terrain and thickness of the fuels, it has taken a variety of heavy equipment to tackle the job.

Structure protection resources are in place throughout the Bucks Lake and Haskins Valley neighborhoods and advisory remains in place

Initially few resources were allocated to the Bear Fire because of its initial remote location, difficult terrain and no threat to structures. But that has changed and resources have poured into the Bear Fire as firefighters hope to keep the fire from impacting the communities of Bucks Lake, Haskins Valley, Tollgate, Meadow Valley and Quincy. There is the potential for the Bear and Claremont fires to merge and firefighters want to be prepared and have already built a dozer perimeter that includes that eventuality.

The Bear Fire broke out Aug. 17 following a lightning strike. Thus far no structures have been lost.

 

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