The McCloud/Bagley wildfire seems to be winding down, but another wildfire has erupted right off the Upper Sacramento River — at the Simms Campground:

The Ward Fire started on September 11, 2012 at 12:50AM. It is approximately 474 acres and 40% contained. It is located outside of Sims, California, on the eastern side of Interstate 5 near the Sims Campground (Exit 718). It is being managed by a Type 3 Incident Command team led by Incident Commander Brian Ramsey.

The Ward Fire is burning primarily on private lands as well as National Forest lands. Steep terrain and heavy fuels as well as low humidity and dry conditions contributed to active daytime fire behavior and spotting. Residents along Hazel Creek Road have voluntarily evacuated their homes. The communities of Sims, Conant and Sweetbriar could potentially be impacted by the fire. An aggressive initial attack with engines, dozers, hand crews, helicopters and air tankers as well as crews and equipment working throughout the night have made good progress towards achieving containment on the east and west flanks of the fire.

This fire is very visible from Interstate 5 and is providing distractions for motorists. Additionally, smoke could impact driving conditions in the area. All motorists should be cautious while driving through this area, in particular between Lakehead and Castella.

The fire-fighting helicopters that operating out of the tiny Dunsmuir airport are still flying, only this time they’re heading south along I-5.

You’ll find up-to-date information on the Ward/Simms fire here.

The McCloud/Bagley Fire Mop Up

It appears the fireline thrown up at the lower McCloud River has held, and they’re now working to mitigate the damage done by the firebreaks:

Today crews will continue working on suppression repair on the considerable miles of dozer lines, hand lines and roads needing work as a result of firefighting efforts. The objective of fire suppression repair is to minimize the potential for use of fire lines as future trails or confusion regarding proper route, and minimizing erosion and sediment movement on the fire line. Heavy equipment, such as road graders, excavators, and backhoe tractors are being utilized to accomplish the task of suppression repair. Crews will also patrol the fire perimeter to ensure the fire remains within current containment lines.

A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team has been assigned to the incident to assess the fire area for needed rehabilitation. Burned area rehabilitation means to repair or improve lands damaged by the fire that are unlikely to recover on their own. The extent of repair will vary depending upon intended use of the forest after the fire. BAER Teams are intended to reduce further damage to land being temporarily exposed while in a fragile condition.

As always, you can uncover the latest Bagley/McCloud fire info here.

Guess we’re in the smoking section once again.

See you scanning the sky for smoke, Tom Chandler.