Middle fire map Sept. 14

A “confinement” strategy is being used to suppress the Middle fire which started in the Trinity Alps Wilderness northeast of the Canyon Creek Trailhead, fire managers said at a community meeting Friday night in Junction City.

As of Saturday, the lightning-sparked fire has burned 454 acres. Generally, fire managers said it has been a low to moderate intensity fire that is reducing understory.

The confinement strategy uses indirect methods to fight the fire by seeking out likely places to stop the blaze beyond the fire’s edge such as ridges, major drainages and roads. This method was selected in large part due to the steep terrain in the wilderness which makes firefighting difficult and dangerous, Forest Service staff said.

As of last night, Jack Froggat, operations chief on the fire, said the fire is holding on its north side along Bear Creek where it’s “out of steam.”  It’s at high elevation and out of fuel on the east side. On the west side, the fire has come down to Canyon Creek Road near the trailhead.

The south side has been the most active, and that is the side closest to homes along Canyon Creek Road. A confinement line is planned along East Fork Road, jogging upward to protect some private property at one location.

Froggat stressed that he does not expect the fire to get to East Fork Road. “Just because we have that line in doesn’t mean that’s where the fire is going,” he said. “I honestly don’t think it will get there.”

Here’s today’s fire update:

The Middle fire showed low/moderate fire behavior yesterday with low rates of spread in timber litter and downed woody debris, adding 60 acres for a total size of 454 acres. Planned activities for today include the construction of indirect fireline for protection of private property and historic sites. A total of 64 personnel are currently assigned to the Middle fire. Hot and dry weather will continue through Saturday.

A Closure Order has been issued for areas potentially affected by the Middle Fire, including Ripstein Campground, Canyon Creek Trailhead, Trail 10W03, Trail 10W06, and Trail 10W08 south of Canyon Creek Falls.

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