Containment in Kincade Fire at 30 percent
CALISTOGA — Firefighters have battled three major bouts of winds that fiercely pushed back their efforts to get a handle on the flames in the massive Kincade fire, but they’re now facing an easier road.
Containment of the fire, which grew slightly to 76,825 acres, doubled overnight to 30% as of Wednesday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“The eastern part of the fire was active overnight, but firefighters continued to make forward progress as a whole,” even amid the final strong wind event of the week, according to fire and weather officials.
Tuesday night, winds in high terrain reached 60 mph, and in the valleys where the fire is burning, winds blew up to 30 mph, said Spencer Tangen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. By Wednesday morning, the winds had already begun to slow.
“We’re not expecting another wind similar to what we’ve seen, at least until mid next week,” Tangen said. That will likely help firefighters continue to make progress.
Jonathan Cox, a Cal Fire spokesman, said Tuesday that firefighters were bracing for a challenging evening.
“If we are looking good as far as fire growth this time tomorrow morning, I feel like that cautious optimism will be solidified,” he said. “If we’re not, if we have explosive growth tonight, we have our work cut out for us.”
The outcome was in their favor, likely because gusts in the valleys near where the Kincade fire was burning were not as strong and this wind event was weaker than previous ones overall, Tangen said.
Despite the fire’s massive scale and the large number of structures that have been damaged — 94 homes have been destroyed — there have been no deaths reported in the blaze. Fire officials say that’s partly because of a proactive approach and vast evacuation zones that have taken many out of harm’s way.