The McDonald Fire, a lightning-sparked wildfire near the community of Termo in northern Lassen County, grew dramatically yesterday, and now has consumed an estimated 4,000 acres of sagebrush, juniper and gray pine.
The Susanville Interagency Fire Center said there are nearly 550 personnel assigned to the blaze burning on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The fire on McDonald Mountain was five percent contained by fire lines, with full containment anticipated for Aug. 2. A federal incident management team takes over management of the fire this afternoon.
There are no structures threatened. The fire is threatening critical habitat for sage grouse, an upland bird whose populations are closely monitored by wildlife specialists.
Elsewhere in the nine-million-acre region protected by SIFC agencies, crews are winding down work on the Russell Complex of fires that burned about 250 acres southeast of Little Valley. Crews and equipment are being sent to other fires or back to their home bases.
Crews are also continuing to work toward full control of many other small fires started when a four-day period of thunderstorms moved across the region beginning Saturday.
A more stable weather pattern is forecast for the remainder of the week, but SIFC officials said fire crews will continue to respond to new fires as smoldering lightning strikes erupt into flames.
Fire officials urged area residents and visitors to be extremely careful with fire any time they are outdoors. Campfires should be doused until they are cold to touch, vehicles should be driven only on established roads and firewood cutters should ensure that their chainsaws have spark arresters in good working condition.
Additionally, officials asked drivers to be alert for fire engines, crew buses and equipment transport trucks on highways and secondary roads as fire crews move to reported fires.