CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. — All evacuations were lifted Saturday after cooler weather helped firefighters gain more ground against a Northern California wildfire that has forced hundreds of people from their homes.
The blaze is 62 per cent contained after sweeping through nearly 109 square miles (280 sq. kilometres) of rural timberlands and brushy hills in Lake, Colusa and Yolo counties, Cal Fire said.
Cooler weather overnight and relative humidity allowed fire crews to make progress and reinforcement, which includes 50 fire engines, sent to California from Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona helped relieve some fire personnel who have been working two weeks straight, Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
About 3,000 firefighters continued to fight the blaze Saturday, down from 3,600 during the peak of the fire that erupted July 29.
The fire is not growing — only creeping and smouldering — but gusty southwest winds through many parts of Northern California are forecast for next week and that could elevate fire risks, Berlant said.
Most of 1,200 evacuees had returned home by Friday. But while containment grew, so did the sadness for some who lost everything.
While the fire burning 100 miles (160 kilometres) north of San Francisco is the biggest, another 16 blazes continue to burn in California and more than 7,000 thousands firefighters are battling them, Cal Fire said.
In Humboldt County, more than 70 blazes sparked by lighting had consumed 7 square miles (18 sq. kilometres) and incinerated six outbuildings. The fires are burning in steep, rugged terrain with poor access and heavy timber fuels and are threating commercial timberland.
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