Firefighters Combat Blazes in Central and Northern California

July 17, 2020

COALINGA, Calif. — More than 900 firefighters aided by helicopters and air tankers battled a wildfire in a rural area of Central California on Thursday.

The fire in the Diablo Range west of the Fresno County city of Coalinga grew to nearly 26 square miles (66.7 square kilometers) and was 20% contained, a fire command statement said.

One structure was destroyed, 60 were threatened and some evacuation orders were in place. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters have been dealing with steep and rugged topography and temperatures in the 90s since the fire erupted Monday afternoon near Mineral Springs Road and State Route 198.

“Our crews are also adjusting to additional in-camp safety modifications which have been implemented due to COVID-19,” the statement said.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District warned of potential smoke impacts on health for residents of Fresno, Kings and Kern counties, and possibly the entire valley until the Mineral fire is extinguished.

To the north, a fire in a rural area of San Benito County near Panoche was 50% contained after scorching more than 2 square miles (5.6 square kilometers. The wildfire burned two buildings and threatened others Wednesday night, fire officials said.

The blaze erupted Wednesday afternoon near high-tension power lines near unincorporated Panoche in southern San Benito County.

It was 20% contained Wednesday night after burning 1,400 acres, state fire officials said.

The county Sheriff’s Office issued evacuation orders for an area in the sparsely-populated grassy and hilly region.

Two buildings had burned but it was unclear whether they were homes, barns or other structures, authorities said.

As many as 50 buildings were threatened, KSBW-TV reported.

No injuries were reported.

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