With support from recently added firefighting resources, Castle Fire crews yesterday continued to hold the fire within established boundaries, in spite of above average temperatures and low relative humidity. Crews were holding and patrolling the fire's perimeter as well as extinguishing identified interior hot spots close to the perimeter. Although smoke could be seen from the fire all day, the smoke was being generated from interior pockets of previously unburned fuel that had ignited rather than from any increase in the overall wildfire size.
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.
Smoke was visible yesterday over the Castle Fire as it grew an additional 662 acres while it established itself in unburned fuel east of Forest Road 226 in the Lookout Canyon area. Following four days in a row of no growth, the combination of increased daytime temperatures, light winds, no precipitation and available fuels were enough to encourage additional spread. Aerial ignitions and firing operations were also successfully conducted to help check and direct the fire's movement through the canyon.
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.
Favorable weather conditions have led to additional growth on the Castle Fire. Firefighters are successfully conducting firing operations to secure the western edge of the planning area. The fire has moved across 11,900 acres since it was discovered on July 12th. A combination of fire suppression strategies have been used to confine the Castle Fire to the 19,632-acre planning area, where it has been allowed to function as a natural disturbance process.
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.
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.