Lake Christine Fire crews working most active section Saturday, extend fireline |

Lake Christine Fire crews working most active section Saturday, extend fireline

A large plume of smoke rises above the Lake Christine Fire Saturday, July 21, as seen from the Willits Town Center.
Matthew Bennett/Post Independent

Crews are focusing Saturday on working the northwest corner of the Lake Christine Fire with numerous helicopter water drops after the fire grew to 8,800 acres after another “active day” Friday, officials said in an update Saturday morning.

“Today, crews are working direct attacking that flank of the fire — fighting directly on the fire’s active edge,” officials said Saturday just before noon.

Firefighters are working to safe-guard the Missouri Heights and Seven Castles areas, according to the update.

The new incident management team Friday started to cut fires lines as a precaution to protect residences in the lower Fryingpan Valley and sent additional personnel into the northern edge to stunt growth, officials said at a community meeting Friday night. That work continued Saturday morning.

“(Crews) will work to extend this line down a ridgeline toward the Fryingpan River,” according to the update. In addition, equipment is being prepared and set up to protect the Seven Castles neighborhood “if the fire pushes to the southeast.”

The fire was previously reported at 8,315 acres after Thursday’s flyover, and the most active area remains to the north and northeast, above the Missouri Heights community.

A pre-evacuation notice remains for Missouri Heights, Cedar Creek, Toner Creek, Seven Castles and Taylor Road residents. Cedar Drive is on the hillside above Basalt. Seven Castles, with 100-plus homes, is in the lower Fryingpan Valley.

White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said he spent Friday with the new team surveying the burn area “figuring out how we can go after this fire as safely as possible but as effectively as possible.”

“We hope we can slow things down a little bit with the strategy we have,” he said.

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