Eldorado National Forest Service officials are looking for rain in coming days to help contain a fire burning in a remote area of the Amador Ranger District.
The lightning-ignited Salt Fire is burning north of Salt Springs Reservoir in the Mokelumne Wilderness. It was detected Oct. 3 and had spread to approximately 27 acres as of Thursday, according to the Forest Service. It is burning in rocky terrain through snags – standing dead trees – and immature brush in an area burned by the 2004 Power Fire. Officials said the Salt Fire was expected to grow to up to 50 to 100 acres before projected wet weather arrives Friday.
The Salt Fire poses little threat to the public, private property or surrounding infrastructure, and is being managed under a confine-contain fire-suppression strategy, officials said.
“I don’t want to expose firefighters to a sea of unstable snags left over from the Power Fire to fight a fire that isn’t currently a threat,” Matt Brown, incident commander for the Salt Fire, said in a written statement. “This is a good example of putting life first to minimize risk exposure for firefighters.”
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The confine-contain strategy will take advantage of natural rock barriers to the north and east of the fire. Direct attack on the ground would present high risk to firefighter safety due to the rough terrain, difficult access and the threat of falling snags, officials said.
Prevailing winds from the south and southwest were reported moving the fire slowly north and east into pockets of brush and dead trees from the 2004 fire, with fire spread potential limited by rock outcroppings.
The Salt Fire is being monitored by aircraft. Water bucket drops will be used if needed to keep the fire from moving toward a steep drainage to the west or south toward Salt Springs Reservoir, officials said.
A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power station 3 miles west of the fire is the closest facility that would be of concern, they said. But with the fire moving slowly in the opposite direction and rain on the way, officials don’t expect the Salt Fire to affect private land or the public.