Wheats Fire Growing
The “Wheats Fire” in Stanislaus National Forest is now 225 acres and 60 percent contained.
Forest officials say Smoke has been reported from Hwy. 108 in Tuolumne County and may been seen from Hwy. 4 in Calaveras County. They say that smoke is coming from flames rapidly consuming red fir and sending plumes of smoke into the air at the Carson -Iceberg Wilderness. They believe the flames were ignited by a lightning strike over the weekend.
Forest officials say granite rocks and light winds are making it difficult to fully contain the blaze located west of the Dardanelles. There are 125 firefighters on the scene from both the U.S. Forest Service and the Me-Wuk Rancheria Fire Department. Forest Officials estimate the cost of the blaze to be around $100,000.
The fire has caused several trails to be shut down. Those include 18E04 Spicer/Wheats, 18E49 Burgson Lake, 19E05 Dardanelle Creek, 19E06 Wheats Meadow, 19E16 County Line, 19E86 McCormick Creek, 19E50A Sword Lake.
Forest officials say they are switching out fire crews and establishing indirect fire lines. A fire camp will be set up at the Spicer Reservoir Group Campground with a boat ride and a 20 minute hike to access the northern perimeter of the fire.
Because legislation restricts use of mechanical devices in wilderness areas special authority has been granted to use chainsaws and water pumps.
Forest Officials say there have been no evacuation, road or campground closings.
Full containment is expected by Saturday, August 11.