Storm ends big wildfire, but not the fire season
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It has been a long, destructive season for wildfires. One marked by big dangerous fires.
Tamarack. Caldor. Dixie. Those names and this year will be remembered. So, maybe it’s understandable to want to turn the page, and declare an end to this fire season.
The rain and snow brought by the storm did finally prompt the Forest Service to declare a final end, full containment and control of the oldest of those big fires--the Tamarack. It started what now seems ages ago, (but was only in early July,) flared up weeks later and threatened communities like Woodfords, Markleeville and Topaz Ranch Estates. It eventually burned nearly 69,000 acres and yesterday was still listed at only 82% contained.
“We really wanted to have one good storm before we even called it controlled, so we were happy to see that storm this weekend,” says U-S forest Service spokeswoman Erica Hupp.
The immediate threat was over a long time ago, but this fire has continued to smolder in inaccessible terrain all this time. It was--until today--still being watched by fire crews. Access to the nearby forest was restricted. Those restrictions will be lifted by the end of the month.
The turn in the weather has given the Forest Service and other agencies a breather, but only that. It hasn’t broken the drought and the conditions that led to these fires could return quickly with another turn.
“If we just get one day of high winds and all those other fuels are wet will dry,” says Hupp.. It will still be dry again once all those fuels dry.”
In fact, Hupp says the concept of the fire season itself may be outdated. In recent years some of our most destructive fires have been during the so-called off-season.
“The fire season is no longer from June to October with hunting season. We’re seeing fire season going year around.”
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