Firefighters made significant progress over the weekend in containing the Walker Fire, which ignited in Plumas National Forest on Sept. 4 and is the year’s largest wildfire at 53,186 acres.
The wildfire was first reported around 2,000 acres, but it was quickly whipped up by gusts to 17,000 acres shortly afterward and has been growing slowly ever since.
Fire crews made headway on containing the blaze over the weekend, reaching 67% containment Sunday, up from just 32% containment Friday.
“Today and tonight, firefighters, air resources and equipment will be in all areas of the fire area remaining vigilant and continuing to strengthen and secure the fire perimeter,” the U.S. Forest Service said in a Sunday morning update. “Priorities will be to hold all containment lines and catch any spotting embers.”
But firefighters will be contending with treacherous weather in the area amid a Northern California red flag warning set to last through Monday afternoon.
Forest Service officials warned of winds as fast as 40 miles per hour paired with humidities below 20% in the fire zone.
As winds continue overnight, crews are expecting that embers may travel as far as a half-mile from the fire. Roving embers caused some spotting south of the fire Saturday night, and crews have fought to contain these fires as well, according to the Forest Service.
As of Sunday, crews were busy mopping up at containment lines, extinguishing hot embers up to 200 feet behind the line. More than 2,000 fire personnel are currently assigned to the Walker Fire.
Mandatory evacuations remain in place in the Murdock Crossing and Stony Ridge areas. Several road closures are in effect as well. No structures have been destroyed in the wildfire and no injuries have been reported.