Cooler temperatures and higher humidity around California is allowing firefighters to continue chipping away at dozens of wildfires this week.
The favorable weekend weather led to considerable progress in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, where a wildfire that was threatening Junction City reached about 56 percent containment. Mandatory evacuation orders, however, remained for parts of the rural town for a fourth day. The month-old fire has charred about 89 square miles.
“They’re gaining ground on it, and with the weather cooperating, they’re able to do burnout operations within the fire to remove hazardous fuels,” said Tom McCampbell, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
Only 33 fires remained active around the state Monday, July 20, down from 2,010 that have charred nearly 1,480 square miles since a massive lightning storm ignited hundreds of blazes across Northern California last month. State officials have called the cluster of fires since June 21 the largest fire event in California history.
A handful of residents also are still affected by evacuation orders in Humboldt, Lake and Mendocino counties. Authorities say most of California’s remaining fires are on remote federal forest lands and pose little threat to homes.
Near the coast, a deep marine layer and backfires helped crews in their battle against a wildfire that previously had threatened thousands of homes in the Los Padres National Forest around Big Sur. That blaze was 70 percent contained after burning about 209 square miles and 27 homes.
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