Rain subdues Jackass fire, containment expected Friday
TOPAZ – Heavy rains that fell for more than an hour over Antelope Valley on Tuesday afternoon helped firefighters gain the upper hand on the Jackass Flat fire that has burned about 6,300 acres, according to Topaz Lake Fire Chief Dave Thomas.
Thomas’ crew was relieved Wednesday morning after a 20-hour shift protecting homes scattered along Eastside Road heading toward Risue Canyon.
“It rained so hard we thought there wouldn’t be any paint left on the engine,” Thomas said. “Lightning was striking all around us. One strike came down right near the engine and scared the (expletive) out of us.”
“Right then, a woman came out of the house we were watching and we had to tell her to go back inside because of the lightning activity. She told us that the house had been hit by lightning, too. When we went inside, we could see the damage of black streak marks running down one of the walls.”
No additional damage was reported, Thomas said.
The fire was 30 percent contained Wednesday evening and is expected to 100 percent contained by 6 p.m. Friday.
The fire has been burning since a lightning strike July 17 in the remote area south of Wellington.
The blaze has destroyed nine square miles of piñon and juniper trees, as well as cheatgrass.
No structures were destroyed, but officials were concerned about threats to sage grouse nesting and breeding habitat in the area and cultural resources.
Resources assigned to the fire include 265 personnel, 39 command staff, seven air tankers, nine hand crews, two helicopters, four bulldozers and 10 engines.
The Type 1 Incident Management Team assumed responsibility for the fire at 6 a.m. today.
Risue Creek Road is closed, and an area closure is in effect from Jackass Flat-Risue Creek to the national forest boundary.
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