TRINITY COUNTY, Calif. - Firefighters are trying to get a handle on the Monument Fire. But the smoke and weather are making it difficult for crews.
“The Monument Fire continues to really challenge firefighters on all aspects of the fire,” said Tyson Widegren, a public information officer on the Monument Fire.
“Every day we are making progress but currently it's in steep rugged terrain with quite a lot of open fire line.”
But it's not just the terrain that's creating challenges. The thick smoke also impacting air attack efforts. But firefighters are relying on the boots that are on the ground.
“We're doing everything that we can with our ground resources,” said Widegren.
“Bulldozers, hand crews, fire engines; those are obviously able to work in the thick smoke. But the air resources are just one piece of the puzzle. But when they are able to help, they are a great resource.”
There are more than 700 firefighters battling the Monument Fire. But firefighters said they expect more resources to come in as they become available.
Firefighters are also keeping an eye on potentially wicked weather moving in.
“We have chances of thunderstorms lasting through the evening, potentially overnight. Very low chances for that as well,” said Zach Tolby, who is an incident meteorologist for the Monument Fire.
“But a low probability, high impact event, where if we did get thunderstorms, it could negatively impact the firefighters on the ground.”
The smoke may be slowing down the potential for thunderstorms, but it’s hampering firefighters.
“One of the things that smoke does is it masks our ability to see exactly where the fire is,” said Jeff Shelton, a long-term analyst.
“It also inhibits our situational awareness so that we can take action efficiently and safely.”
Crews will continue to monitor the fire activity and work on holding containment lines that are already in place.