As crews battle 14,000-acre Tucker Fire in Modoc County, warm and windy weather looms

Crews made good progress Wednesday fighting the Tucker Fire, a wildfire that has scorched more than 14,000 acres since it broke out Sunday afternoon in Modoc County.

The blaze is 51 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to an incident update by California Interagency Incident Management Team 10, which has assumed command of the fire. The fire stands at 14,217 acres with no growth reported since Wednesday morning.

However, the interagency team and the National Weather Service advise that a red flag warning will be in effect throughout Modoc County, including the fire area, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday due to warm, dry and windy conditions. Gusts could reach 25 mph and “will likely contribute to a significant spread of any new and existing fires,” the warning from the weather service’s Medford, Oregon, office said.

The Tucker Fire ignited about 3:45 p.m. Sunday in Modoc County, along Highway 139 near the Clear Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Though the cause remains under investigation, incident reports say that investigators believe the wildfire was sparked unintentionally by a vehicle traveling on or near Highway 139.

The wildfire has burned vegetation up to the southwest shore of the Clear Lake Reservoir, but has remained within containment lines, according to the incident report. More than 560 personnel from numerous agencies remain assigned to the fire.

No evacuation orders have been issued and no structures have been reported damaged or destroyed as of Wednesday night.

The Tucker Fire remains California’s biggest wildfire of 2019 so far. Command of the fire was initially handled by the U.S. Forest Service’s Modoc National Forest office before being handed off to the interagency management team.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.