The visible increase in smoke from the Castle Fire is due to the warmer and drier trend in weather. Yesterday, the Castle Fire continued to spread into Lookout Canyon generating smoke both from its movement south to the confinement lines and from interior pockets of dead and down vegetation fanned by light winds. These pockets of dead and down fuel will continue smoldering for several weeks or until a significant amount of wetting rain occurs on the fire area.
The Castle Fire's acreage continues to hold at 16,538 for the fourth day in a row. Precipitation and increased humidity continue to affect fire behavior causing a temporary stall in the fire's growth. However warm, dry days are in the forecast and the fire is expected to regain momentum and continue its path through remaining unburned fuels in the area of Lookout Canyon.
The Castle Fire's acreage held at 16,538 today due to more consistent showers over the fire area. While precipitation does have a direct effect on fire behavior, it can be very effective in moderating or temporarily halting the fire's spread. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that the fire is over. Warmer, drier days, such as those predicted in the long-term forecast can provide just enough heat to keep the fire moving through the fuels that are still available in the unburned areas.
The Castle Fire remains mildly active as intermittent pulses of precipitation visit the fire area with increasing frequency. The forest floor on the eastern half of the fire is blackened and recent rain showers have evenly saturated most of that area. The evidence of the wildfire is found deep within isolated smoldering stumps that are scattered throughout the area.
The Castle Fire has spread through more than half of the 19,632-acre planning area that fire managers pre-identified soon after the fire was discovered on July 12th. The fire is currently 10,400 acres in size and has moved across about 55% of the planning area. With 177 personnel assigned, firefighters continue to focus their efforts along the planning area's western edge; the furthest point north which is near Lookout Canyon; and the furthest point south, near Dugway and FR 418.
Excellent progress is being made in securing the entire perimeter of the 19,368-acre planning area which defines the outermost boundary of the Castle Fire. The fire has burned north and south from its point of origin, traversing almost 12 miles of the eastern perimeter of the planning area. As the fire established itself, it gained depth and started spreading southwest towards Riggs Canyon.
The Castle Fire remains moderately active due to available fuels and persistent hot and dry weather. Firefighters will continue to conduct burnout operations as needed to strengthen control lines. During ignitions, there can be a temporary increase in smoke emissions. Mastication work is ongoing along the southern and northwestern portions of the perimeter of the planning area. Aerial ignitions are also being used where appropriate and as needed.
The Castle Fire continues to grow along the northeast portion of the planning area. The fire is backing along the forest floor and occasionally flaming up in areas where there are dense pockets of dead and down logs.
The lightning-caused wildfire, which is being allowed to fulfill its natural role in a fire-dependent ecosystem, is approximately 600 acres within a predetermined planning area of 19,368 acres. It is located about 11 miles south of Jacob Lake, 3 miles west of Highway 67, and just east of Forest Road 761 near Oquer Canyon.