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Fairfield Fire fully contained; south side of highway reopens
Jul 30, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer
Officials said the Fairfield Fire was 100 percent contained Sunday, and on Monday the south side of Sinks Canyon Road reopened, including area campgrounds.
Homestead Park residents were allowed back into the subdivision which had been closed since July 22.
Firefighters still are busy clearing the scene this week, however.
"(They're) still in there putting water on (the fire) and using their tools to put it completely out," said U.S. Forest Service fire information officer Carl Jungck.
Lightning started the fire July 17 on the north slope of Sinks Canyon, and U.S. Forest Service personnel first spotted it July 22. Crews have been fighting the blaze ever since.
Over the weekend, fire crews strengthened containment lines encircling the fire and started putting it out. At 8 p.m. Sunday, a local team took over management of the fire, and the incident was downgraded from a level 2 to a level 4. The fire's size now stands at 1,335 acres, down from the last estimate of 1,559 acres.
"It should not grow anymore," Jungck said.
North side still closed
A Monday news release announced travelers can park on the south side of Sinks Canyon Road, but the forest north of the road still is closed, including climbing areas. Fire crews Tuesday were using Bruce's parking lot as a staging area for resources and equipment.
On Tuesday, one hand crew, two fire engines and one helicopter were working the fire, with 35 people involved in the efforts.
After it was first spotted, the blaze raced eastward from its origin on Fairfield Hill on the north side of Sinks Canyon.
Flames spread through sagebrush and grass toward Homestead Park during the afternoon of July 22, but a bulldozer arrived in time to clear fuels from the land surrounding the houses. An air tanker followed, dropping a line of fire retardant to protect the homes further.
Those efforts, combined with firefighters' work on the ground, halted the fire within a hundred feet of the Homestead houses.
On July 23, afternoon winds pushed flames westward so they no longer threatened structures but burned into heavy timber fuels.
Damp, cooler weather at the end of last week slowed the blaze, and fire crews had it mostly contained by Friday.