Government Fire whipped by dry, hot winds |

Government Fire whipped by dry, hot winds

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

Hot, dry and windy conditions are grounding firefighting aircraft and challenging fire crews that are desperately trying to hold the Government Fire within bulldozed fire lines.

“We’ve had very active fire behavior due to the winds,” said Marian Swinney, a fire information officer with the Bureau of Land Management.

The fire, which is three miles from Interstate 80 near Blue Canyon, is not threatening the highway, according to officials.

Fire crews have bulldozed a fire line along Sawtooth Ridge, which parallels the interstate, and are hoping to keep the wildfire from spotting over the ridge.

Thick smoke is choking the western slope and in some cases has grounded aircraft. The fire, which had been burning along the floor of the forest, was reaching into the crowns of the trees on Wednesday, Swinney said.

The effort to contain the fire is benefiting from increased attention after fires in other parts of the state have died down.

Yesterday the American River Complex of fires were the No. 1 priority in the nation and today the fires are the second priority for firefighting crews, said Swinney.

The upgraded designation allotted several planes and helicopters to the fire, which dropped 29,000 gallons of retardant on the blaze Tuesday.

The Government Fire stands at 6,538 acres and is only 10 percent contained.