Firefighters dig in as Cedar Fire enters second week

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On day eight of the Cedar Fire, officials said there would be lots of fire activity, challenging their lines and creating massive columns of smoke. (KFSN)

The Glennville Rodeo Grounds have been home to both Cedar Fire evacuees and firefighters for over a week now.

Everyone here is hoping they don't have to be here too long, but right now, officials estimate that this fire won't be fully contained until mid-September. On day eight of the Cedar Fire, officials said there would be lots of fire activity, challenging their lines and creating massive columns of smoke.

"Hotter, drier, and windier than it has been for the last several days," Annaleasa Winter with Cal Fire said.

Homes near Panorama Heights were close to the fire Wednesday afternoon but they've been protected so far. Tulare County officials confirmed six cabins in the Spear Creek Summer Homes area were destroyed by the fire.

There are 15 aircraft are assigned to the Cedar Fire, including night flight helicopters and a super scooper, one of the fastest ways to drop water on the fire. Since the fire began last Tuesday, it has burned more than 22,000 acres and is only 10 percent contained.

"And every time the fire reaches that containment line and we're able to mop it up," Winter said. "We'll be able to increase that containment."

More than 2,000 people are assigned to it now and hundreds of firefighters are based at the Rodeo Grounds in Glennville. It's also where many evacuees are staying.

"And their distance to the fire line is much shorter," Winter said. "So their day out there, they get all 12 hours out there, they can get on back and get rested up and get a good night's sleep, and be ready to go again the next day."

For Andrew Hamilton, it's the next night. Coming from Tucson, Arizona, Hamilton has teamed up with the Diablos - a Mexican National Fire crew partnering with Big Bend National Park. They rolled in Tuesday night and went directly to the fire line, working until Wednesday morning.

"We put in some indirect hand line and then burn it out yourself," Hamilton said. "Have a little more control of what the fire's going to do and keep it in place so you can buy yourself or some other resources down the line a little more time to come up with their plan for their piece of ground."

He's a long way from home but Hamilton said his wife is also a wildland firefighter. They spend winters together, and while he's here, Hamilton makes new friends.

"I love the work," he said. "I love the camaraderie, I love being outdoors."

It will be weeks before firefighters leave the area but at least until then, they know they're appreciated.
Related Topics:
newswildfirecal firetulare countyTulare County
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