According to Jeff Fontana, Public Affairs Officer for the BLM’s Northern California District, high desert roads and campgrounds in northeast California and northwest Nevada that were closed to public access during the Rush Fire will be reopened to the public on Friday, August 31st.
The Dodge Reservoir and Ramhorn Springs campgrounds and all roads through the fire area, including the Smoke Creek Ranch, Buckhorn, Rye Patch, Horn, Garate, Ramhorn, Shinn Ranch, Stoney, Deep Cut, Skedaddle Ranch, Brubeck, Buffalo Meadows and Dry Valley roads will reopen, said officials from the Bureau of Land Management’s Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville.
The Rush fire, started by lightning on August 12th, was expected to be contained today at 315,577 acres. Fire crews will remain in the fire area over the coming week or more.
“It is important that people driving through the area keep a watchful eye for fire crews and equipment, especially in the areas along the Buckhorn Road in the northern part of the fire,” said BLM Eagle Lake Field Manager Ken Collum. He also asked visitors to keep their vehicles on roads and trails and out of burned areas to avoid damaging soils that have lost their protective plant cover.
Collum also reminded visitors that fire dangers are extreme and that fire restrictions are in effect. Campfires are not allowed except in posted, developed recreation sites and campgrounds, smoking is not allowed except inside buildings or enclosed vehicles, and use of internal combustion engines is allowed only on roads and trails. Chainsaw use is prohibited.
In the coming weeks, BLM staff members specializing in wildlife biology, rangeland conservation and hydrology will be at work in the burned area, assessing fire impacts and developing restoration plans.
“This was the largest fire that has ever burned on lands managed by the BLM-California, Collum said. “We face a huge task in restoring habitat for wildlife and wild horses, and grazing allotments important to local ranchers and the regional economy. We will be involving the public in developing restoration plans.
Firefighters continued to close in on the Rush fire. On Wednesday, they went after smokes and cooled them off in the northeastern flank of the fire. The weather was extremely dry, with several weather stations reporting only two percent relative humidity.
On Thursday, engines and crews will continue making sure the northeast flank is free of hot spots. The northeast part of the Rush fire is about 25 miles northeast and east of Ravendale, Calif., in Nevada.
Firefighters will continue making repairs from firefighting operations on the north flank and scaling down firefighting operations. The fire camp at Burnt Lake will close Thursday morning. Remaining crews will be based at the fire camp in at the Lassen County Fairgrounds in Susanville.
Many firefighters and equipment will be released from the fire Thursday and Friday.
Officials with the Northern Rockies National Incident Management Team plan to declare the Rush fire contained by 6 p.m. on Thursday.
“It’s been a lot of hard work over the 257.5 miles of fire perimeter,” Doug Turman, the Rush fire incident commander said. “The crews did an outstanding job.”
The team plans to turn management of the fire over to a Bureau of Land Management fire team on Saturday.