Tucker Fire blackens 4 square miles in Modoc County

MODOC COUNTY, Calif. – Crews are trying to get a handle on the Tucker Fire burning 50 miles southeast of Klamath Falls.

The fire broke out Sunday afternoon along the east side of Highway 139 in the Dry Lake area of northern California.

Incident Commander Dale Middleton said the Tucker fire began as two separate fires. “They took off fairly quick, up to 20 to 30 acres within the first 30 minutes and then both fires, we ended up burning them together,” Middleton explained.

The fire was estimated at over 2,400 acres Monday morning.

Crews are continuing to work to mop up and strengthen containment lines.

“We had roughly about 300 at the peak,” Middleton estimated on firefighter numbers. “We had four air tankers yesterday, two helicopters, and numerous engines and dozers.”

The fire threatened a 500-kilovolt line running through the area.

Middleton pointed out that no homes are threatened at this time.  “We have one south of the fire, one of the ranches there – but it’s still quite a ways from it.”

The fire is burning in an area of sagebrush and juniper. “The terrain is not too bad, you don’t have a whole lot of mountainous area,” Middleton explained. “But, you’ve got a lot of lava flows which slows us down a lot, especially when we’re using the dozers.”

An area of origin has been identified near the northwest end of the fire. “We’re still investigating the cause,” Middleton said. “We have an idea, but we can’t say at this time.”

While the highway remains open through the area, Middleton said drivers will still need to slow down and watch for fire crews. “We have about a mile of the area that’s actually impacted from the burn, where it pushed up and started off of 139.”

As of Monday morning, containment of the Tucker Fire was estimated at 30%.

Forestry officials say a juniper reduction project near the east side of the fire played a major role in helping stem the spread of the fire.

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