Creek Fire: How crews are using fire to fight fire

If you've seen big plumes of smoke in the foothills or the mountains in the last few days, don't be alarmed! It's just firefighters carrying out containment operations.
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- As Creek Fire containment continues to improve, crews are making sure to double up on the strength of lines - by using fire to fight fire.

It was mostly blue skies in the foothills and in the mountains on Thursday but it was hard to miss big plumes of smoke, especially if you were near the North Fork area.

But fire officials said it wasn't a cause for alarm. Those plumes were coming from firing operations that are strengthening the containment on the Creek Fire.

"In most cases a column that goes straight up on a calm day means that we have it under control and it's behaving as we intended... The goal is to set fire to unburned fuels inside the containment line already built to make sure that the current containment lines hold," said Chris Vestal of Sacramento Metro Fire.

Officials say doing it from above with a fire-spewing chopper lets them reach a bigger area.

"We call it blacking it out sometimes and that makes a lighter area of controlled line where the fire is less likely to break through and spread outside of containment," Vestal said.

Earlier in the week, firing from up above was focused on the Burrough Mountain Area.

In recent days, crews have zoned in on Whiskey Falls and the Central Camp areas.

CAL FIRE has used this technique to so far burn thousands of acres in the area.

That's building strength on containment lines before warm, dry weather this weekend with developing winds on Sunday.

"We want to make sure that all areas of that fire that might be affected by those conditions are in fact contained or have the best and most amount of containment possible," said Vestal.
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