Advertisement

Cooler temperatures help firefighters gain 'upper hand' on Rocky fire

Cooler temperatures help firefighters gain 'upper hand' on Rocky fire
Firefighters make their way up a hillside along Water Trough Road in Lake County, south of Clearlake, on Aug. 5, 2015. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The erratic Rocky fire in Northern California appeared to be slowing down Saturday night, officials said.

The massive fire, which quickly spread across Colusa, Lake and Yolo counties and consumed nearly 70,000 acres, was 70% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Advertisement

"The firefighters have gained the upper hand on the fire," Cal Fire spokesman Mike Yeun said. "They're making great progress."

Firefighters expect to have the fire fully contained by Thursday, Yeun said. Though firefighters still were working in "hot and dry, not ideal conditions," cooler overnight temperatures and increased relative humidity was helping them make gains, he said.

Saturday night, about 2,400 firefighters were battling the fire.

There was still smoke in the air, Yeun said, "but it's a lot better than it was six days ago."

The Rocky fire destroyed 43 homes, 53 outbuildings and eight other structures. As of Saturday morning, evacuated residents were allowed to return home and all roads were reopened except for rural Reiff Road.

The cause of the fire, which began July 29, has not been determined.

The Rocky fire started near the shore of Clear Lake, about 110 miles northwest of Sacramento. The fire exploded as temperatures climbed into the triple digits and humidity was near zero.

During one five-hour stretch, the blaze charred 20,000 acres, which one fire official called "historic, unprecedented." The conflagration perplexed firefighters, plowing through containment lines and jumping over a highway.

California 20 and 16 reopened on Friday.

Twitter: @haileybranson | Google+

MORE:

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement