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Firefighters struggle with Butte fire

July 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
It was a frustrating start for firefighters when they had lost ground on the Camp Fire. Early numbers show containment fell from 55 percent to 40 percent overnight."Mother Nature carried this fire," said Riverside County Firefighter Mike Mohler. "And we're going to battle it once again."

Winds again are the enemy, making "crowning" in this heavily wooded area of Butte County a problem as flames hop from treetop to treetop.

"'Crowning' is when the fire gets up in the canopy of the trees and runs independent of the ground fire," said Capt. Geoff Belyea, Cal Fire St. Helena. "It's a lot harder to control."

No one has been allowed back into their residences yet. Instead, they are left to wonder and wait.

The crowning problem is why evacuee Timothy Correll thinks he lost his home.

"We had tall canopy trees all around our home," Correll said. "We heard so many explosions from propane tanks. It's frustrating. You just know it's gone."

Still, firefighters were determined to prevent more homes from burning up. A crew from the wine country even cleared the brush from a property that did not have defensible space.

However, it is questionable how much longer crews can stay at their assigned home. Resources are being moved to the nearby community of Paradise. Meanwhile, the fire has moved into the canyon between Concow and Paradise. Residents of Paradise have already been evacuated as a precaution.

Some areas of the raging fire are unattended because no homes are in danger. That is what happens when resources are limited. Evacuees know that and also realize the heat wave tires firefighters faster. All they can do is hope and pray.

"They're doing the best they can," evacuee Saskia Robinson said. "There's not much more they can do. They're working their butts off."

 

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