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Tucker Fire now 95% contained, same acreage size

Fire officials say that it isn't yet threatening homes, but it is causing problems with power lines.

Posted: Jul 29, 2019 6:19 PM
Updated: Aug 3, 2019 9:59 AM

NEWELL, Calif. — The U.S. Forest Service- Modoc National Forest says the Tucker Fire is now 95 percent contained. 

The fire is still at 14,217 acres. That has not changed. Overnight crews did not find any heat threatening lines. Today's goal for firefighters are to continue mop up and ensure containment. 

This will be the last update on this fire unless conditions change. Modoc Forest takes charge tomorrow at 6 am from the California Interagency Incident Management Team 10. 

(Updated 8/3/19 at 8:30 a.m.)


UPDATE: The good news in Modoc County persisted into Thursday morning, with fire officials reporting no new growth on the fire and a significant jump in containment efforts. The Tucker Fire remains at 14,217 acres with containment now at 51 percent.

Crews worked through the night patrolling, gridding, and mopping up along the fire's perimeter — extinguishing hot spots wherever they encountered them.

But heading into Thursday afternoon, conditions could change dramatically. A red flag warning has been issued in the area between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., meaning strong winds and low humidity.

"Crews will base all actions in anticipation of the potential fire behavior that could result from these conditions. Crews are designated with initial attack responsibilities in the event of a new start," fire officials said.

Hot spots remain throughout the interior of the burn area, particularly held at the base of juniper trees. Those may continue to send smoke into the area as they continue to catch fire.

Travelers are advised to be cautious driving on Highway 139 as crews continue to work in the area.

"Please use caution and be aware of equipment and personnel along the road. Visible smoke from burning vegetation in the interior of the fire is expected and crews will be monitoring and holding the lines," officials said. "In addition, a heavy grass crop due to the rainy winter has resulted in increased fire danger across the state. Please use extra caution to prevent fire starts!"

(Updated 8/1/19 at 11:30 a.m.)


UPDATE: Fire officials had positive news to report on the Tucker Fire in Modoc County on Wednesday morning, saying that the flames remained within containment lines throughout the day. It now covers an estimated 14,217 acres and is 10 percent contained.

"The fire was determined to have been unintentionally ignited by vehicular traffic along Highway 139," the U.S. Forest Service posted in an update.

Overnight, the fire continued to hold within containment lines. Crews have continued to strengthen those lines, working west along Road 46N15 toward Highway 139 — mopping up and patrolling the perimeter.

"Infrared mapping and observations overnight indicated that the vegetation is still holding quite a bit of heat, and crews will continue to work into the day to ensure that existing lines will hold," officials said.

According to the Forest Service, weather on Wednesday is expected to be similar to Tuesday, though winds could pick up over the afternoon. Conditions are likely to worsen later in the weak, so crews will be working on shoring up weak points to the northwest and southeast of the fire.

"Motorists in the area are advised that crews are still working along Highway 139. Please use caution and be aware of equipment and personnel along the road," officials said. "In addition, a heavy grass crop due to the rainy winter has resulted in increased fire danger across the state. Please use extra caution to prevent fire starts!"

A California Incident Management Team is now in command of firefighting efforts on the Tucker Fire.

(Updated 7/31/19 at 9:40 a.m.)


UPDATE: In a brief update posted on Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Forest Service gave an optimistic outlook on the Tucker Fire following the day's firefighting efforts.

"[The Tucker Fire] did not display the erratic behavior it did the last two days. It was kept within containment lines, but is putting up some smoke from interior fuels," the agency said.

According to USFS, a full update will come out on Wednesday morning from the CalFire Incident Management Team that is now on the scene.

(Updated 7/30/19 at 5:35 p.m.)


UPDATE: The Tucker Fire in Modoc County continued to grow over Monday night, topping out at an estimated 12,973 acres. Fire officials say the fire grew about 10,000 acres over the course of one day.

Although evacuations have not been ordered, the Modoc County Sheriff has contacted residents along County Road 114/202 and in the Coyote Butte and Horse Mountain areas with a warning that they might need to leave in the near future.

"Last night crews conducted burn-out operations to strengthen fire lines and constructed new line where possible," fire officials said. "Forest Range personnel will be on scene again today working with affected ranchers and resource advisors will continue assisting bulldozers in avoiding sensitive areas."

Construction of more fire lines is expected throughout the day on Tuesday, with crews scouting out areas of possible containment. They will also be providing "point protection" for infrastructure threatened by the flames.

Fire officials have said that the Tucker Fire is believed to be human-caused, but have not yet released any additional details on the investigation.

(Updated 7/30/19 at 11 a.m.)


INITIAL REPORT: A fast-moving brush fire in Modoc County had spread to more than 11,000 acres by Monday evening, according to officials with the U.S. Forest Service - Modoc National Forest.

The Tucker Fire spotted outside of firefighters' control lines, demonstrating "erratic" behavior as it continued to spread to the north and northeast toward the Clear Lake Hills. Fire officials do not report any containment at this time.

Previous reports did not indicate that any homes were threatened, but a series of 500 kV power transmission lines were quite literally in the line of fire. Although a post from USFS early on Monday indicated that the threat to those lines had been "mitigated," a later update said that the lines were being impacted.

The fire started on Sunday afternoon along the east side of Hwy 139 near Dry Lake. It covered more than 2,400 acres by Monday morning.

This is a developing story, and NewsWatch 12 will update the article with more details as they emerge.

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