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Rum Creek Fire 87% contained

Firefighters working the Rum Creek Fire near Galice construct fire line and clear brush Sunday. The fire was 87% contained Tuesday. [Inciweb photo]

Rain forecast through Wednesday is helping crews battling the Rum Creek Fire to make progress on containment ahead of drier days later this week.

The fire burning near Galice had a footprint of 21,347 acres and was 87% contained according to an Iniweb update Tuesday, an increase of 4% from Monday. Some 287 personnel are assigned to the fire.

A Type 3 incident management team under the leadership of Incident Commander Brandon Kerns took over fire command at 7 a.m. Tuesday. The team’s goal, according to the afternoon update, is “to protect the community in case fall weather becomes favorable for fire growth” and will focus on “safe passage of roads, trails, forests and clean water” in the community.

Scattered showers are expected through Wednesday, with a drying pattern in the forecast later in the week. Lightning also is in the forecast, but the U.S. Forest Service expects high relative humidity will reduce the chances for new fire starts.

Between Monday and Tuesday, more than a quarter-inch of rain fell on the fire, owing to a low pressure weather system off the Northern California coast bringing “unsettled weather” in the fire zone.

The added moisture has the potential to cause small debris flows in the burn area, but drier weather is in the forecast. Crews spent Tuesday rehabilitating areas with “greatest potential to affect public safety,” according to the update.

The focus since Sept. 16 has been to reduce the probability of erosion and debris flows before the winter season, according to Inciweb.

The lightning-caused wildfire was reported Aug. 17 on a steep ridge in the lower Rogue River Canyon near Rainie Falls. Hot, dry winds caused the fire to rapidly expand Aug. 26, and critical fire weather conditions lasted until Sept. 12.