The 416 fire grew over 50 acres Saturday, totaling 34,278 acres. The fire remains 37 percent contained.
Crews spent Saturday monitoring and improving existing fire lines, as well as working on ways to remove vegetation.
“The plan is pretty much the same going forward each day,” said Bob Summerfield, spokesman for the National incident Management Organization team. “Basically at this point, it’s kind of a waiting game until the monsoons come in and we get precipitation on the fire.”
Fire officials are not planning to utilize any burnouts unless fire activity increases.
“We’d like to not have to put more fire on the ground,” Summerfield said. “With the hotter, drier weather, should it make a run somewhere, then we would need to do some burning out. But we’re hoping not to.”
Though the fire continues to spread west, officials aren’t planning to insert firefighters to attempt to stop the spread. They will continue to monitor the fire to make sure it doesn’t pose any risks, but otherwise the risk to firefighter safety isn’t worth the reward.
“You have to weigh the values of having the fire burn over there versus the risk of putting firefighters into that country, which would be very dangerous,” Summerfield said. “We would love to see the fire go out over there. It’s not that we want to let it continue burning, but the only way to achieve that, it would be a great cost and risk to human life. The values just don’t warrant that.”
The monsoons, which should occur in mid-July, offer the best hope to put out the blaze, though it’s not guaranteed it will expunge the blaze.
“It’s going to take significant, extended precipitation to completely put out the fire,” Summerfield said. “Normally that’s the kind of precipitation you get during monsoons. What will come this year, nobody knows for sure. We’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.
Though the fire won’t go out for a while, fire officials aren’t expecting the fire to see considerable growth. The fire burned out a patch of 20 acres on the western perimeter on Friday, but most of the active fire is from the interior, Summerfield said. The fire had grown a little over 100 acres in the last week.
A red-flag warning remains in effect until 9 p.m. Saturday night. Fire activity has remained at levels predicted by fire officials. A fire weather watch was issued from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
A total of 507 firefighters fought the fire on Saturday. At the briefing Saturday morning, fire officials said that the amount of firefighters should continue to drop, but that a force will remain to adequately put out the fire.
“We’re not going to let everybody go and let the fire do what it’s going to do,” Summerfield said. “We’re going to leave a force here that’s rightly sized at hand on the fire right now.”
The cost of firefighting operations as of Saturday is 21.7 million.