Flash flood watch – firefighters gaining some ground | TheUnion.com

Flash flood watch – firefighters gaining some ground

Continued progress was reported Sunday in strengthening and holding the fire lines in the Tahoe National Forest.

And statewide, the number of active fires dropped to 288, down from more than 300 last week and 1,781 at the peak of the fires, started by lightening strikes across California the night of June 21.

Smoke will continue to linger in the Central Valley, air in the valley and foothills will continue to be poor, and the National Weather Service advised people to continue taking health precautions.

Meanwhile, the southern Sierra and eastern deserts faced a flash flood watch.

Nearly 21,500 firefighters – some from as far away as Russia and Australia – continue to fight blazes in the Sierra Nevada and Coast ranges. Their progress allowed officials to reopen Highway 1 on the Big Sur coast Sunday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Temperatures for the fire areas are forecast to be 88 to 98 degrees, with humidity rising to 24 percent to 33 percent. Delta breezes were expected between 6 mph and 9 mph, weather forecasters said.

“Little significant change in the smoky, hazy conditions is expected near the wildfires, as high pressure and relatively light winds aloft prevail over the region into Monday,” the service forecast.

In Nevada County, the Celina and the Scotchman fires continue to smoke, and crews are “mopping up,” said Ann Westling of the Tahoe National Forest.

“For the Fall Fire, crews are continuing to monitor fire activity as it backs down to Canyon Creek,” she added. “Better visibility today will enable utilization of the helicopter over the fire area to both support the control efforts as well as fly out surplus equipment.”

The Yuba River Complex fire camp has moved from the Nevada County Fairgrounds and is sharing facilities with the American River Complex at Yuba Gap, according to Westling’s statement. The Tahoe National Forest has assumed management of the Yuba River Complex. Fires in the Yuba River Complex have burned 3,819 acres and is 95-percent contained.

Fires in the American River Complex have burned 18,721 acres and are 25 percent contained. The estimated containment date is Aug. 1.

All roads are open except those west of Bowman Road in the immediate vicinity of the fire.

Recreationists are asked to drive slowly and watch for fire equipment along roads.

In Plumas County, the Canyon Complex fires have spread to more than 30,800 acres and are 60 percent contained.

To contact Editor Jeff Pelline, e-mail jpelline@theunion.com or call 477-4235.

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