Monday, July 3, 2006 • Cheney blaze near containment; SIFC confirms more than 80 fires

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Monday, July 3, 2006, edition of the Lassen County Times.

Firefighters worked toward full containment of the Cheney Fire, a lightning-sparked blaze that burned 625 acres and forced evacuation of about 100 homes near the western edge of Susanville last Monday night.

Meanwhile, other fire crews and equipment were on the move in northeast California, responding to dozens of fires caused by three days of intense thunderstorms. Several wild fires were gaining in size and some remained un-staffed, said officials at the Susanville Interagency Fire Center.

SIFC officials said the Cheney Fire had been 70 percent contained by mid-afternoon on Wednesday, June 28. They predicted full containment for Friday, June 30. No homes were lost. Evacuation orders for the Maurino Manor Subdivision and several surrounding neighborhoods were lifted Monday night, June 26.

Meanwhile, fire crews were kept busy responding to smoke reports and battling lighting fires burning across the 6.5 million acres of public and private land protected by SIFC agencies.

“Since Sunday, we have investigated more than 100 fire reports. We have had 80 confirmed fires. Some are getting big. Because our fire-fighting resources are depleted, we have not been able to send engines or crews to every fire,” said Craig Kincaid, a co-manager of the SIFC command center.

Of particular concern today was the Observation Complex, a group of 10 fires burning across a wide area of Bureau of Land Management-administered rangelands about 30 miles northeast of Susanville.

The complex included a 2,000-acre fire on the slopes of Observation Mountain southeast of Ravendale and smaller fires near Smoke Creek, Horse Land and Fredonyer Peak.  A fire management team took over management of the fire and established an incident base camp at Shaffer School in Litchfield.

Lightning fires were reported in the Bieber and Alturas areas, on parts of the Lassen National Forest, on wildlands surrounding Susanville and on high desert rangelands in the far northeast corner of California and extreme northwest Nevada.