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With Rain, Firefighters Change Tactics On Rough Fire, Some Evacuations Lifted

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Firefighters work on containing the Rough Fire at night.

Light rain, cooler temperatures and higher humidity in the last 24 hours have helped firefighters in their effort to contain the Rough Fire. The blaze has now consumed 139,000 acres and is 40 percent contained, though officials expect the containment number to rise later today. 

While the rain has helped the fight, it wasn't been enough to extinguish the fire. It also has forced firefighters to change their tactics, by making it more difficult to intentionally set brush on fire in efforts to contain the main blaze by depriving it of fuel. 

John Nichols: "Now we can't do that because the fire fuels which would carry that fire are too wet."

John Nichols is a spokesperson for the fire management team. He says instead of fighting fire with fire, crews are now taking a different approach.

Nichols: "The rain yesterday and today has helped a lot in allowing the firefighters do more direct action. On an active aggressive fire you can't put somebody right on the edge of the that fire, because it's just too dangerous. You've got to back off and work off of contingent lines. When we get this kind of rain it it basically allows us to go direct.We can then evaluate if its safe enough to go in and get right on that fire line."

Officials say that while the southern flank of the fire near Grant Grove remains active, the threat there has diminished, as crews work to mop up hot spots and monitor pockets of unburned fuel. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office  reopened all roads south of Highway 180 leading into Dunlap, Miramonte and Pinehurst. The department also lifted a number of mandatory evacuation orders in the Rough Fire area. They include:

- All residences south of Highway 180, between Dunlap Road and Highway 245 - All properties on the south side of Highway 180 east of the Highway 180/Dunlap Road junction. - All properties adjacent to the north side of Dunlap Road from the - Highway 180/Dunlap Road junction to the Dunlap Road/Millwood Road Junction. - All properties on both sides of Millwood Road. - All properties on both sides of Todd Eymann Road from Millwood Road to Highway 245. - All properties on both sides of Highway 245 from Todd Eymann Road to Highway 180. Removal of Evacuation Warning Areas - All properties on the south side of Dunlap Road from the Highway 180/Dunlap Road junction east to the Dunlap Road/Millwood Road junction. - All properties on both sides of Dunlap Road from the Dunlap Road/Millwood Road junction east to the Dunlap Road/Highway 245 junction. - All properties on both sides of Brookside Road. - All properties along Hopewell Road north of Highway 180 and east to the fire burn area within the Sequoia National Forest boundary. - All other existing mandatory evacuation orders remain in effect.

Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of Valley Public Radio. During his tenure, he's helped lead the station through major programming changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining the station's financial health. From 2010-2018 he served as the station's Director of Program Content. In that role, he also served as the host of Valley Edition, and helped launch and grow the station's award-winning local news department. He is a Fresno native and a graduate of California State University, Fresno.
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