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Tuolumne Fire 30% Contained

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Containment of the Tuolumne Fire is at 30 percent, and full containment is now estimated for Friday evening.

The blaze, burning in dormant brush and timber in the Tuolumne River Canyon since Sunday, has now consumed 590 acres east of Groveland and resulted in one death and at least six injuries.

24-year-old firefighter Eva Schicke of Arnold was killed Sunday when flames overtook her helitack crew.

Also injured were 29 year-old CDF Captain Jonah Winger, and firefighters 23-year-old Jon Andahl, 29-year-old Josh Augustin, 25-year-old Thomas “TJ” Fraser, 29-year-old Jeff Boatman and 24-year-old Shane Neveau.

U.S. Forest Service Spokesman Pat Kaunert says there are over a thousand firefighters at work on this fire.

Kaunert pointed out that the conditions and the terrain made it difficult for the fire crews.

“As we get crews in closer, we can actually see the fire perimeter a little bit better. Also, our aerial mapping is getting more accurate, with the ability to basically look down and see the perimeter of the fire,” Kaunert said Monday.

Kaunert added the weather conditions have not helped the cause.

“Temperatures running between 80 and 90 degrees during the day, winds have been from 6 to 12 miles per hour, and the relative humidity has been low, very low,” Kaunert said.

The cause of the Tuolumne Fire is still under investigation.

Kaunert says ground crews and aerial crews are doing well and working together.

“Crews continue to make excellent progress constructing fire lines and dozer lines, with support from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.”

Potential still exists, officials say, for extreme fire danger and behavior.