IMPERIAL COUNTY, Calif. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the Imperial Fire is now 50 percent contained. The fire is located on the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge on the California side of the river between Ferguson Lake and the old gauging station across from the Eureka Mine area.
The fire was reported last Saturday at 8 a.m. So far it has burned about 100 acres. Officials said with an increase in relative humidity, the Imperial Fire activity has been reduced to light or moderate.
“Even though the fire has slowed, this is a fire that will continue to burn in the duff and phragmites (common reed) vegetation, and with a warming trend to come, we may see this fire increase in intensity”, says Imperial Wildlife Refuge Manager Nate Caswell.
There are no structures threatened. Fire engines have been placed at strategic locations on the Arizona side of the river in case of any spot fires in locations reachable by road.
Officials said helicopter water bucket drops have been very successful in decreasing fire intensity yesterday while fire crews continue to strengthen fireline. The fire continues to burn slowly downstream on the California side of the Colorado River and is only accessible by boat. The western side of the fire is desert upland habitat.
According to officials, Tuesday firefighters will complete a fireline being constructed on a narrow strip of land between the Colorado River and Ferguson Lake. They advise smoke and flame will be visible as vegetation continues to burn toward the south. The Meers Point Recreation Area is closed to accommodate helicopter operations. The river remains open but river users are asked to use extreme caution in the area. Firefighter and public safety continues to be the top priority.
Officials said there are currently six engines, one Type II hand crew and one Type I hand crew, four fire boats, one helicopter, and overhead personnel totaling approximately 100 people. Agencies involved with suppression of the fire include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Yuma Wildland Fire crew, US Forest Service and other state and local agencies.