Rey fire slows to a crawl at 33,000 acres burned

Rey fire slows to a crawl at 33,000 acres burned

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Rey fire infrared heat map

A modified Google map shows the Rey fire hot spots picked up by National Guard infrared technology as of Sunday morning.

The Rey fire east of Cachuma Lake showed little activity and grew very slowly Saturday night, reaching just over 33,000 acres and 61 percent containment as of Sunday evening, fire officials said.

Trees and brush continue to burn in the interior area of the fire as a result of warmer, drier conditions from a high pressure area that built up Sunday morning, although winds remained relatively light.

But rather than raging through the forest as it did last week, the fire’s activity Saturday night and Sunday was limited primarily to smoldering and creeping, said a spokesman for the Rey Fire Unified Command.

National Guard infrared technology is being used for operational support and to verify fire lines in the inaccessible areas of the San Rafael and Dick Smith wilderness areas, the spokesman said.

Firefighters spent most of Sunday securing and mopping up along the remaining uncontained fireline on the northeast corner of the fire, working to build a direct handline from Mono Creek through Pie Canyon and the Indian Creek drainage area.

Officials are expecting to reach full containment of the blaze by midnight Wednesday. However, a fire weather watch has been issued for 5 p.m. Monday through 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Some of the 1,000 personnel assigned to the fire are now turning their efforts to repairing damage from the fire suppression efforts, including chipping brush that was cut on the southern portion of the blaze to create ground cover for that area.

In other areas, crews are installing waterbars on fire lines and removing berms, the spokesman said.

Despite the slow growth of the fire, Painted Cave Road was added to the list of closed roads, which includes Paradise and Gibraltar roads and East Camino Cielo.

Painted Cave was closed at Highway 154 in order to keep all of East Camino Cielo closed to the public while fire personnel and equipment are traveling along the narrow road, the spokesman said.

He noted that anyone found violating the road closures can be cited.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire that broke out about 3:15 p.m. Aug. 18 near the White Rock Day Use Picnic Area.

Chimney Fire

Meanwhile in San Luis Obispo County, firefighters reached 60 percent containment of the Chimney Fire burning west of Nacimiento Lake and now estimated at just over 45,000 acres.

The fire is most active in the northwest portion near Bryson Hesperia in Monterey County, where some of the nearly 4,000 firefighters assigned to the blaze are struggling to contain the flames burning in very dry brush, chaparral and dead timber along steep, rugged terrain, said a spokesman for Cal Fire Incident Management Team 2.

The fire has destroyed 49 homes and 21 other structures, damaged eight and still threatens another 160, the spokesman said.

One person has been injured as a result of the fire.

However, Hearst Castle, located west of the burn area, will reopen for tours Monday after it was closed Aug. 20 by State Parks Department officials when flames threatened the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument.

Although the cause of the fire, which broke out about 4 p.m. Aug. 13 just south of the lake, is still under investigation, fire officials say it was not intentionally set.

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