Gusty winds are playing a major factor in the containment of three wildland fires burning in Calaveras County this morning.
Now called the Sourgrass Complex fire, the combine three fires have consumed nearly three hundred acres along Highway 4 near Dorrington and along Winton Road in West Point.
The fire is only 25 percent contained as of 8:30 a.m. today.
The fires are burning on Sierra Pacific Industries land, and spotted and spread when burning slash piles got out of control from the strong winds.
Annette Roestler with the Tuolumne/Calaveras Fire Command Center in San Andreas says strong winds are hampering firefighting efforts.
“The winds are playing a big factor. A very big factor,” she says. “Firefighters are having a hard time getting a line around (the fire) for containment due to the wind pushing it.
Fire command center spokesman Lance Berry says the problems started early Monday when the wind kicked up in the higher elevations, sustaining at 10-miles-per-hour and gusts to over 40-miles-per-hour at the ridge tops.
Roestler says 678 CDF, U.S. Forest Service firefighters and SPI crews are working the fires.
The Sourgrass fire is the largest at over 200 acres. The Mill Creek Fire has blackened about 40 acres, and the Winton Fire has consumed at least 10 acres, Roestler says.
Because of the renewed fire danger, all outdoor burning has been suspended, at least until Wednesday, due to the north winds and the lack of rain, Roestler says. There were numerous smaller debris burn escapes yesterday, at least a half-dozen.
Tuolumne County air pollution officials changed Monday’s status from a burn day to a no-burn day at 1 p.m. because of the wind and fire problems.
Fire officials are hoping to have full containment on the complex fire by Thursday, Nov. 28 at around 6 p.m.
So far no structures have been damaged and there have been no injuries.