Firefighters gain upper hand on Panther Fire
Monday, May 6 — The Panther Fire in Tehama County burned 6,864 acres and was 60 percent contained as of Monday morning
The fire started the morning of May 1 in a rugged area of the Deer Creek Canyon north of Butte Meadows and Highway 32.Strong winds pushed the fire up steep slopes and the fire had grown to over 6,000 acres by Friday morning.
The fire moved north into the Mill Creek Drainage while east winds pushed the fire to the west into the Ishi Wilderness.
Despite difficult access, steep terrain and sometimes gusty winds, firefighters finally gained the upper hand on this early season blaze.
Fire continues to burn in the Ishi Wilderness Area with slow growth due to MIST (Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics) tactics employed by US Forest Service Hotshot crews. The US Forest Service Hotshot crew’s aggressive work yesterday enabled the MIST tactics to be ahead of schedule. With favorable weather forecasted today, high humidity’s and low temperatures, the predicted containment date will be met.
As of Sunday evening there were a total of 1,811 total personnel working on the fire including 131 engines, 57 hand crews, 7 helicopters, 40 water tenders and 261 overhead and support personnel.Handcrews were key in this effort since much of the area the fire burned in is too steep and rugged for fire engines and dozers.
Three firefighters were injured fighting the fire and the estimated cost of the fire as of Sunday evening was $6,604,520.
The Ishi Wilderness and the area between Highway 32 and Highway 36 are closed to the public. Highway 32 and Highway 36 will remain open but be aware of the heavy fire equipment traffic on those highways.
Cal Fire reported uncharacteristically aggressive fire behavior as the result of the record dry late winter and spring.The Panther Fire was one of over 100 fires fanned by strong winds in California this past week.
The Cedar Fire, approximately 12 miles south of the Panther Fire also started on the morning of May 1.That fire, now contained, burned 72 acres.
The causes of both fires are still under investigation.
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