Cause of Dinely Fire still unknown, contained 100% as of Saturday
By Paul Myers
three rivers – Three Rivers got a rude awakening last Wednesday June 7 when a wild fire consumed 339 acres near Dinely Drive. In all 54 engines/trucks, 25 fire crews, five water tenders, two helicopters and 556 total personnel were used to contain the fire 100% by 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 12. And according to Toni Davis, California Fire Public Information Officer assigned to the fire, crews battling the flames caught a big break in the weather.
With temperatures in the 80’s last week, crews were able to contain the fire while flames worked through the moisture left on the grass.
“[Cool weather] helped tremendously. What happens when we get cool weather, we get more moisture in the air. The more moisture there is the more water that stays on the fuel,” Davis said.
According to Davis no structures were damaged and she recognized that residents have done a good job in clearing 100 feet of defensible space from their homes.
“People are working on [maintaining their defensible space], and that’s great. They need to keep working on it especially if we’re going to have more rain…if they can maintain that all year it’s just easier,” Davis said.
And while some think that a wet winter means fewer fires, that is not entirely accurate. According to Davis, the rain has helped moisten the grass but it has also added fuel for fires.
“Yes, we had a lot of rain so the fuel is not a dry this time…so yes the rain helped. But on the other side of it we got so much rain and then warm weather…we got more and more growth,” Davis added.
She noted as well that the community of Three Rivers helped crews and residents in any way they could. Throughout the fire, the community opened up the rodeo grounds as a central communications headquarters. As well the Presbyterian Church offered their facility as an evacuation center when Cal Fire issued a voluntary evacuation order for residents who were potentially in the path of the fire.
“We were so lucky because the community of Three Rivers offered up their [facilities]…The Presbyterian Church stepped up and said that if we wanted to set up our evacuation center there then come on in…It’s helpful when the community really helps out and really loves their fire fighters,” Davis added.