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Firefighters keep McKinney Fire hemmed in

A firefighter in Northern California repairs a fire hose. [Incident Information System photo]
Backburning planned on the 300-acre Potter Fire in the Southern Oregon Cascades

Firefighters kept the McKinney Fire in Northern California almost entirely within its footprint despite red flag conditions for heat and wind.

From Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning, the fire grew only 10 acres to reach 60,389 acres. Firefighters held the lines and reached deeper into the fire’s interior on the last of three days of red flag conditions Sunday through Tuesday that included wind gusts up to 35 mph.

“Yesterday was the final exam, and we got about a 98% on it,” Dennis Burns said of firefighters’ efforts Tuesday. Burns is a fire behavior analyst with the California Interagency Incident Management Team.

The fire bulged out slightly to the north, but crews got the spread under control Tuesday, he said.

“The fire is showing us it still has a little bite in it,” Burns said.

Containment grew from 55% to 60% from Tuesday to Wednesday, fire officials said.

Wednesday’s work plan included continuing to aggressively mop up from the fire lines into the interior to reduce the risk that fire spreads beyond its current footprint, Burns said.

Crews are continuing to deal with extremely dry fuels, he said.

The Yeti Fire west of the McKinney Fire showed no growth and remained at 7,886 acres Wednesday, with 78% containment. Crews are continuing to mop up and protect fire lines, fire officials said.

In Southern Oregon north of Crater Lake, the Windigo Fire was at 1,053 acres Wednesday with 25% containment. The area received light rain from thunderstorms. Crews planned to continue strengthening fire lines and mopping up into the interior of the fire, officials said.

The Wednesday plan for the Potter Fire in the area was to light fires on the eastern and northern flanks to deprive the advancing wildfire of new fuels. Mop-up operations and fire line improvements will continue on the fire, which measures about 300 acres with no containment, fire officials said.

As of Tuesday night, firefighters were mopping up a small fire south of Shady Cove after getting it 100% lined. Winds created about a dozen spot fires, but those were contained as well, the Oregon Department of Forestry stated.

The fire was reported Tuesday. Crews aggressively attacked on the ground and with helicopters and a plane, ODF said.

Medford, Ashland, Talent, Grants Pass and Shady Cove enjoyed good air quality as of noon Wednesday after winds from the northwest blew out smoke from regional fires.

For air quality updates, see oraqi.deq.state.or.us/home/map.

The National Weather Service predicts high temperatures in the 90s through Monday for the Medford area. Triple digit temperatures could return Tuesday with a high near 102.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.