Up to half an inch of rain and hail fell on the Cedar Creek Fire over the weekend. That helped moderate fire behavior.
But the fight is far from over.
Most of the areas where the fire is considered contained are east of Waldo Lake and west of the Cascade Lakes Highway.
“The rain will help us, but if we aren’t very methodical about catching all the heats, as soon as it dries out again, it can start moving,” said Morgan Rigney, a hotshot firefighter from Mormon Lake, Arizona.
The weekend rains dampened the ground about two-inches deep, but the fire is burning through layers of debris that are still dry.
When the heat hits a tree, it flares to life above ground.
“To put it fully, out we’ll get some water in here, keep stirring it up. It will be a several days to weeklong process to fully mop it up,” Rigney said.
Down the road closer to the Cascade Lakes Highway, crews are busy creating shaded fuel breaks by cutting back dense stands of lodgepole pine trees, effectively widening the fuel break the roads represent.
“Here we are creating a fuel break, clearing out ladder fuels and taking out a majority of the fuel within 50 feet of the buffer,” said Travis Surplus, firefighter. “That’s to prevent fire from bumping this line and, if we need to, do a back burn off this line.”
Crews continue to work to create fuel breaks between Odell Lake, Davis Lake, and the Cascade Lakes Highway.
Between Little Cultus Lake and Deer Lake, crews are brushing, chipping and removing snags to protect Cultus Mountain from future fire advancement.
Crews have made miles of fuel breaks along roads on the east flank of the Cedar Creek Fire and they will continue to do so until the fire is fully contained.