There's been a significant increase in containment of the rough fire. It's now 67 percent contained with more than 140-thousand acres burned.
Now that the evacuation orders have been lifted, students won't have to take the long bus drive to Reedley or Orange Cove. They'll be back at Dulap School on Thursday morning.
Dunlap school students received a warm welcome at Jefferson Elementary in Reedley, one of two Valley schools that took them in for a few days after being evacuated on Friday. Dunlap's principal says it was a smooth transition, and expects the same as his students return to dunlap on Thursday.
"A lot of smiles from the kids and staff, everybody's really excited to get home," said Keith Merrihew, Dunlap School Principal.
Nearby in Orange Cove, officials monitoring the rough fire are equally excited by progress made this week, with the help of rain and cooler temperatures .
Even though we had great weather, it really allowed us to attack the fire aggressively, and actually put in some containment line, we're never done until this fire is completely finished," said Lucas Spelman, Cal Fire Captain.
The fire is now 67-percent contained, and a fire official for the south zone of the fire expects further containment by Thursday. It means some crews are taking off to other parts of the state, even as firefighters continue to mop up and put out hot spots along containment lines.
"This fire is winding down to the point that there's still active fire out there, we're still fighting fire, but it's winding down to the point that we've got enough resources to start moving some of those folks into other parts of the country where they're needed also," said John Nichols, Rough Fire Information Officer.
But fire information officer John Nichols says they'll keep the appropriate amount of resources on the Rough Fire -- which has burned nearly twice the area of Fresno -- until its fully contained.
Highway 180 remains blocked at Highway 245 just outside Kings Canyon National Park, which is still closed. But residents that live between there and Dunlap Road, north of Highway 180, can now return home. Which means all students should be back in their seats at Dunlap school on Thursday.
We've had great weather these past few days that has been favorable for firefighters, but they expect it to heat up the rest of this week and this weekend, so will keep patrolling those containment lines.
On Wednesday, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office and fire officials made a collaborative decision to lift some of the existing mandatory evacuation orders near the area of the Rough Fire. This decision takes effect at 10:00am.
Removal of Mandatory Evacuation Areas
- All residences north of Highway 180, between Dunlap Road and Highway 245 (Includes Armenian Church Camp and surrounding properties)
- A closure remains on Highway 180 at Highway 245
Residents are encouraged to be patient and courteous as they return to their homes. Please drive carefully and be cautious of fire crews and law enforcement officers still working along the roadways.
We would like to thank the public for its cooperation during this difficult situation. Please understand the decision to administer evacuation orders and warnings is ultimately carried out by the Sheriff's Office, however, it is based upon input by the fire officials in charge of the operation. Ensuring the safety of the public is, and will always be, our number one priority. null