By Cary Rosenbaum
LAURIER – Firefighters are working in rare “extreme” terrain at the 150-acre Radio Fire near here.
It’s one of the times he’s seen the word “extreme” for terrain used in a fire report, Radio Fire spokesman Franklin Pemberton said.
“I’ve been around fire communities for 12 to 15 years and this doesn’t happen very often,” he said. “It’s just very inaccessible.”
Lightning started the fire that’s at about the 3,000-foot elevation on the west side of the U.S. Highway 395 – about eight miles north of Orient, officials said.
About 30 percent of the fire was contained as of Tuesday, Oct. 9, said officials with a Type 4 incident management team that has taken over the fire.
“It’s kind of hard to explain,” Pemberton said. “It’s burning in a rock-cliff structure there. The fire’s really not moving up or down, but sideways.”
No homes are threatened, officials said, as the likelihood of the fire moving that direction is “very, very small.”
Fire crews have been unable to target the fire, which began Sept. 10, as the terrain is too much of a risk, officials said.
“It’s a big risk,” Pemberton said. “We would be rappelling crews into some nasty, snaky rock to get them into the interior burning.”
A containment line has been built on the rock, and whenever fire appears, an incident management crew is there to take it out, officials said.
“It’s a slow moving fire,” Pemberton said. “We just can’t get to the thing safely.”
Future concerns are that when colder weather comes it will push smoke into the valley, officials said.