Donnell Update, 6 August 2018, 12:05 and 2:42 Updates

Flyover with the goal of assessing Dardanelle and Brightman areas

“Update at 2:42pm: New figures in for the Donnell Fire describe it as at 11,074 acres with two percent containment; size reduction occurs with more precise mapping.

Update at 12:05pm: A leader with the Donnell Fire Incident Command team has given an update to Clarke Broadcasting about efforts to protect areas like Kennedy Meadows and assess the damage at the Dardanelle Resort.

Jim Harris, an Incident Commander Trainee with the Central Coast Interagency Incident Command Team, says it will be a while before detailed specifics are known about the Dardanelle Resort and surrounding cabins and campgrounds. He notes, “We haven’t been able to break anyone off to do what we call damage assessment, and find out what has been saved and what has unfortunately been lost, and get all of those exact details.”

We confirmed earlier that the Dardanelle Resort was burned by the fire.

There are 300 firefighters assigned to the 12,000 acre Donnell Fire, and that includes overhead, the management team, and logistics.

Harris adds, “The firefighters we do have are stretched really thin, and we don’t have enough firefighting resources to address everything we’d like. They have all been prioritized and only engaged in structure protection and defense at this time.”

A mandatory evacuation order remains in place for the Highway 108 corridor from Eagle Meadow to the Kennedy Meadows Resort.

All of the remaining structures along the Highway 108 corridor, which haven’t been hit by the fire, such as Kennedy Meadows Resort, are being treated and prepped for structure defense, and very much remain threatened.

Harris says, “What’s happening is that along that river (Stanislaus) drainage, in the afternoon the wind is blowing up the drainage, and we are getting gusts of 20-30 mph. As the fire grows, it is also adding to the wind, and it is becoming very erratic and fire activity increases dramatically from around two in the afternoon until seven o’clock at night.”

A mix of air and ground resources are assigned to the incident, including air tankers and DC-10’s. However, there has been a limited window to drop water and retardant due to an inversion layer that has been making visibility difficult in the morning and early afternoons.

A positive tidbit is that once the fire moves past the evacuated area along the Highway 108 corridor, it will primarily be burning within an isolated wilderness region without structures.

Harris notes, “Being optimistic, we think we can corral this thing, within the wilderness, after we are done mitigating all of the current structure threat.”

More resources have been ordered and will continue to arrive over the coming hours and days.”

Additionally, the Pacific Crest Trail has been closed from Highway 108 to Highway 4 as of August 6th due to the proximity of the Donnell Fire.

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