A line around the fire: Firefighters will patrol the River Fire before closing the incident | TheUnion.com

A line around the fire: Firefighters will patrol the River Fire before closing the incident

Complete containment doesn’t mean the fire is out.

“It means there’s a line completely around the fire and that crews have gone through the interior of the fire to make sure there aren’t any smokes or anything left burning,” said Mary Eldridge, public information officer for the Nevada-Yuba-Placer Cal Fire Unit.

Eldridge said Cal Fire will continue to check and patrol affected areas before they close out the incident entirely.

One hundred percent containment was expected Friday.

“You never know, if a large tree is burned and it has a very deep root ball, some fires were out for days, weeks, and can (resurface),” Eldridge said.

Eldridge estimates the total cost of the River Fire to the state will reach around $8 million.

Four other fires started nearby over the 10-day long blaze that scorched 2,619 acres and destroyed over 100 structures, Eldridge said. They included a vehicle fire and three other half-acre burns that took place over the course of the River Fire’s containment process.

“As resources were released back to their station, they were made available and they were able to respond and extinguish those,” Eldridge said.

Eldridge said she is unsure what 100% containment means for the evacuees who remain — namely Nevada County residents in Zones NCO-E102-B; NCO-E050-B and NCO-E103-B. According to Zonehaven, the app the county uses to keep residents abreast of evacuation orders and recommendations, those zones include Sierra Knoll Estates and northeast of Dog Bar Road to Mount Olive Road.

Eldridge said the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for determining which residents should evacuate.

“We draw a box around the fire and we suggest this is the area you can evacuate,” Eldridge said of Cal Fire’s role in the evacuation process.

The final decision is made by the sheriff and Office of Emergency Services, Eldridge said. The Sheriff’s Office also helps repopulate the area at the appropriate time.

To the north, the Dixie Fire still blazes across Butte, Plumas, Tehama and Lassen counties. The month-long blaze has destroyed 517,945 acres and was 31% contained on Friday.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com

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