Arger Report #2
This afternoon/evening is/has gone far better than this morning. To our knowledge, no more structures on upper SCR have been lost. As of ~7pm, the Manfrees, Shepps, Choppings, and remaining structures at the Perris were not being threatened, primarily because most of the fuel has already burned around the properties. There is still some fuel between each of those respective properties that could light up if the winds shift south/southwest, but the winds are currently still calm and gently blowing (still ~5-10mph) northeast and away from Foss Valley. Three engine crews, including Tony Martinez and his fantastic team on Engine 25 from Monticello station, are staying up here tonight to monitor everything and make rounds as necessary.
The great news is that a Bulldozer crew consisting of a D5, D6, and D7 arrived mid-afternoon via Atlas Peak Road and have already cut a line from the northwestern border of Antica through the Choppings property and over to the Shepps property line. There is still active fire above (i.e. north) of that line, but it is all wildland and if all goes according to plan (i.e. winds do not shift to south/southwest), the fire should (fingers extra crossed) burn itself out back up to Atlas Peak and not push back south/southwest into Foss Valley.
After the Dozers cut that first line, they went "blades up" along the dirt road all the way out to the far western edge of Stagecoach and met up with another set of Dozers that cut/re-cut the same line along the northwestern edge of Foss Valley from the 2017 Atlas Fire that goes up and over the top toward Pritchard Hill/Chappellet/Sage Canyon. This is EXTREMELY important and good news, as by doing this, CalFire has effectively confined the fire (assuming no big wind events of course) to the remaining wildland areas on Atlas Peak and cut off access for the fire to get into Rector Canyon. The Dozers then tracked all the back across Foss Valley, back through Antica and, according to our convo with the current battalion chief for Upper SCR around 8pm, are heading back towards Atlas Peak Road in an effort to cut additional lines to try and prevent the fire from spreading down Atlas Peak Road, and thus, hopefully, from climbing up and over into Lower SCR. In short, they have a very good strategic plan in place to try and confine the fire to Atlas Peak (and out of Foss Valley), and thus far the plan seems to be working.
We are all very fortunate that many of the same "players" from CalFire from 2017 are up here again, know the area, and appreciate the extreme benefit of trying to keep the fire off of Atlas Peak Road and out of Rector Canyon, which is why they got the Dozers up here so quickly. To put it in perspective, in 2017, the fire started on Sunday night, and the Dozer crew did not arrive until Thursday or Friday. In 2020, the fire in Foss Valley effectively began this morning around 5am, and they had 3 bulldozers on the ground and cutting lines by mid-afternoon - that is really really good.
In closing, I am still heartbroken for the Perris, not to mention the dozens of other families in Vacaville, Fairfield, and other areas currently under siege, and send my sincerest condolences to them for the loss of their home, but I am also cautiously optimistic and hopeful that many more homes on SCR will be spared by the great efforts being put forth by CalFire.
I hope everyone is well and I will provide another update sometime in the morning.
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