Many wildfires near full containment, but officials fear continuing hot weather

By Molly Burke

By Molly Burke

The Sacramento Bee

Thousands of firefighters continue to battle 20 wildfires across California as red flag warnings expire. Dry, hot weather will continue to risk increased fire activity through the week. With no rain in the forecast, officials warn heightened fire danger remains, though the coast will see some relief.

On Saturday, 23 new wildfires began and were quickly contained despite red flag warnings in many areas.

Over 4.1 million acres have burned in California this year due in more than 8,600 wildfires, 12 of which remain major incidents. The fires have led to 31 deaths across the state and the destruction of over 9,200 structures. So far, six fires this year rank in the top 20 largest wildfires in California history, including the August Complex, SCU Lightning Complex, LNU Lightning Complex, Creek Fire, North Complex and SQF Complex.

Six of this year’s wildfires also rank in the top 20 most destructive wildfires in California history, while the North Complex and LNU Lightning Complex fell in the ranks of the deadliest wildfires.

Officials are warning residents to remain cautious, citing historic trends that the state experiences the most devastating fires throughout the months of September and October.

Here’s an update on the latest status of the most significant fires still burning across California as of midday Sunday.

  • The Creek Fire has grown to 348,085 acres with 60% containment since it started Sept. 4. The fire, burning in the Sierra and Inyo national forests, is expected to be fully contained Oct. 31.
  • The Zogg Fire was fully contained Tuesday, ending the flames that killed four people while burning through Shasta and Tehama counties for just more than two weeks.
  • The Glass Fire, which destroyed wineries and homes while burning through Sonoma and Napa counties, is nearing full containment after charring 67,484 acres since it began Sept. 27. As of Cal Fire’s Friday update, the incident was 97% contained.
  • The August Complex Fire has burned 1,032,264 acres and is 86% contained. The fire, which began Aug. 17 sparked by lightning, has become the largest wildfire in California history, far surpassing the previous record. The fire is burning in Mendocino National Forest and is expected to be fully contained Nov. 15.
  • The North Complex Fire, in Plumas County, has burned 318,930 acres since it started Aug. 17. It is 94% contained and expected to be fully contained Nov. 12.
  • The Fork Fire is 85% contained after burning 1,670 acres in steep, rugged terrain near Rubicon Canyon in El Dorado County. The fire began Sept. 8.
  • The SQF Complex Fire, burning only three miles east of Giant Sequoia National Monument, is 72% contained. The fire has charred 168,095 acres and destroyed 288 structures since it began Aug. 19, but officials expect it to be fully contained Nov. 1. Sierra National Forest remains closed until at least the beginning of November.
  • The Dolan Fire has burned 124,924 acres in the Los Padres National Forest and is 98% contained. The fire began Aug. 18 as a suspected arson and is expected to be fully contained by next Saturday.
  • The Slater and Devil fires have burned 156,618 acres in the Klamath National Forest, with destruction reaching southern Oregon. The fires are 80% contained after starting Sept. 8 and are expected to be fully contained Nov. 1.
  • The Slink Fire has burned 26,759 acres in Mono County since it began Aug. 29 sparked by lightning. The fire is 90% contained, but firefighters will allow the last 10% in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness to smolder and wait for rain.
  • The Red Salmon Complex Fire, in Humboldt County, is 63% contained after burning 142,989 acres since it began July 27 because of lightning. Officials expect the fire to be fully contained Nov. 15.
  • The Blue Jay Fire, burning in Mariposa County, and the Wolf Fire, in Toulumne County, have burned 6,650 acres and 1,780 acres, respectively, within Yosemite National Park. The Blue Jay Fire is 50% contained after starting July 24 due to lightning. The Wolf Fire is 60% contained after lightning started the flames Aug. 11.
  • The Bobcat Fire has burned 115,796 acres in Los Angeles County and is 92% contained. The fire began Sept. 6, possibly started by vegetation that touched a power line, according to the utility, Southern California Edison.
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