Crews at Princeton fire are “scaling back”

Crews at Princeton fire are “scaling back”

There are still thirty-seven hot spots in the 3,330 hectare fire area

Crews continue to chip away at the dangers still existing in the fire zone just north Princeton and are making progress, according to Brendan Doyle, information officer with the onsite incident management team.

In an interview Friday Doyle said there are now 37 hotspots identified in the 3,300 hectare fire area, down from 43 Tuesday.

“Obviously without any forecast of rain the crews are going to have to scratch around and mop-up every inch of fire ground,” he said.

While there are 161 firefighters and support staff deployed to the fire today “we are in the process of scaling down the numbers and tomorrow you will see 120.”

Doyle, part of a 12-member team from New South Wales Australia in charge of efforts at the Princeton site, said mop-up strategies are being aided by a fire behavior analyst who is also part of that group.

Wind activity is being carefully watched, he said.

“Each morning and each evening a fire behavior specialist monitors the weather and liaisons with the meteorologist.”

There have been no injuries inside the fire lines, he said, adding this stage of a fire can be the most dangerous for personnel.

“When these incidents come to an end safety becomes more important.”

It’s possible for firefighters to develop a too-comfortable feeling with the environment, he explained.

“We are making sure their awareness is quite heightened. We are making sure the crews stay motivated and we are looking after safety first..The crews continue to come back for a well-earned rest after a hard day’s work.”

The last residents on evacuation were allowed to begin returning to their homes Wednesday.

According to Doyle Summers Creek Road will be open for all traffic Friday night.