The Bradley Fire in Dunsmuir was reported to be 95 percent contained at 54 acres as of Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 5.
The cause of the fire that started at about 10 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 28, remains under investigation.
Helicopters that were available at Mott Airport throughout the week were used Thursday morning to douse fire that “slopped over” the containment line on the northwest side during a windy night. The water attack helped limit the spread to five acres, increasing the size from 49 to 54 acres.
The helicopters were used again early this week to remove the hose and other equipment and supplies that were no longer needed as the perimeter of the fire was made more secure.
As of Tuesday morning, those helicopters were being made available to the Helena Fire in Trinity County, according to Bradley Fire incident commander trainee Drew Graham, of the US Forest Service in Mount Shasta.
The Helena Fire, near Junction City and Helena, was one of 23 large wildfires that were being fought by more than 10,000 firefighters as of Tuesday morning, according CAL FIRE’s Statewide Fire Summary. It had burned 1,483 acres, destroyed 72 homes and 61 outbuildings, and was only 14 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon.
The Bradley Fire started just above the Dunsmuir Little League field and came within about a half mile of some Dunsmuir homes, according to Graham.
Air resources were called in Tuesday of last week to put water and retardant on the steep rocky hillside west of town, and the fire grew little in size after that.
“It was a lot of hard work holding it to 50 acres,” incident commander Todd Mack of the Forest Service’s Mount Shasta-McCloud Ranger District said on Thursday morning. “We were fortunate to get everything we needed as quickly as we did.”
A Code Red evacuation warning that was issued by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office the night the fire started was lifted by Friday for residents along Simpson, Scarlett, Haven, and Goodsell Roads in Dunsmuir.
Resources involved on the Bradley Fire were reduced to about 50 personnel, two crews, one engine, and one water tender as of this Tuesday.
Graham said some resources that had been on the Bradley Fire were being made available locally in case any other fires started.
He said the fire above Bear Creek Canyon was expected to be 100 percent contained by Friday, and after that it would still be patrolled on a regular basis.
“There may be smokes that pop up, but they’re not a threat to the line,” Graham said.
Mack said the Bradley Fire was “wind-tested” the night of Aug. 30-31, when firefighters working the night shift reported sustained winds. That was the night the fire “slopped-over,” meaning it extended through the containment line from inside, as opposed to it spreading because of spotting, which happens when hot embers ignite an area outside the line.
Fire managers had to mitigate safety concerns on the Bradley Fire because of dangerous conditions, including steep terrain, snags and rolling rocks.
The Bradley Fire was not a source of most of the smoke that has been obscuring skies far and wide, but other fires in and around Siskiyou County have been.
Record high temperatures and low humidities have been fire-conducive factors, and a Red Flag Warning is in effect beginning mid-day Wednesday and continuing into Thursday for Northern California.
Very dry vegetation combined with scattered lightning during this time period is expected. Thunderstorms on Thursday could produce locally heavy rainfall and gusty and erratic winds, according to information posted at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5547/.
Other fires in the area include:
• The Salmon August Complex Fire started by lightning Aug. 11 in the Marble Mountain Wilderness and Klamath National Forest side of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. See details at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5501/.
• The Young Fire in the Siskiyou Wilderness in Six Rivers National Forest, started by an as yet unknown cause Aug. 7. See: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5521/
• The Eclipse Complex, five miles west of Happy Camp, which includes multiple fires started by lightning Aug. 15. See: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5511/
• The Warner Mountain Lightning fire in Modoc County has been burning since late July on the Warner Mountain Ranger District following lightning strikes. See: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5444/
• The Orleans Complex, 20 miles north of Orleans in Siskiyou County was also started by a series of lightning strikes in late July. See: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5430/
Numerous fires have also been burning in Oregon.