UPDATE: As of Monday, July 15th, the fire had burned 1,625 acres and was 75 percent contained.
BEAVER COUNTY (ABC4 News) – The Skull Flat Wildfire about five miles east of Beaver is now 30 percent contained, according to fire officials. Firefighters have been battling the flames, initially caused by lightning, since June 18th.
Little plumes of smoke were visible in the area as of Tuesday afternoon. The fire has torched more than 1500 acres.
One hundred and forty-nine firefighters are on the scene so far to build indirect control lines along the fire’s perimeter. To speed up the burning process, crews are using aerial ignition to wipe out overgrown vegetation in the area, all to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires in the future.
“It involves creating a fire line with chainsaws and sometimes hand tools to make sure there’s a buffer between the fire and the nearest accessible point,” said Skull Flat Fire information officer Nick Howell.
Officials say ultimately the fire will improve the health of the forest, creating new plant growth and improve water quality for Beaver City.
“This is more of a ground fire that’s crawling around on the forest floor, burning through dead and down material that needs to be consumed in a fire,” said Skull Flat Fire incident commander Greg Bartin.
Bartin said crews expect the wildfire to be contained by July 12th.