▶️ Darlene Fire at only 5% containment; crews continue mop-up process

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The Darlene Fire in southeast La Pine is being reported at only five percent containment, but it is that containment process that will end up making a major difference.

“Containment is percentage of line around the fire,” Joel Basch, operations section chief trainee said. “Which we’ve got line around 100 percent of the fire, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re 100 percent contained.”

During containment, the point is to not let the fire escape its perimeter control line and those lines need to be strengthened.

“We strengthen the containment lines by using a combination of hose lays with the hand crews that are pumped by portable pumps,” Basch said. “We also use some engines that are working the perimeter of the fire as well.”

Then there is the mop-up, where crews use hand-tools and water to cool down and control hot spots. 

“It’s almost like mixing concrete,” Basch said. “One firefighter sprays, one firefighter digs, and we turn and churn until it’s cold, and then we move onto the next hot spot. Which could be the next log, it could be the next stump hole, anything that has or poses a threat to causing an ember to cross our containment line.”

The Darlene Fire will be contained before it is completely out.

While fire crews play a big part, Basch says Mother Nature decides when it ends.

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