Fires

Blazes continue across California while firefighters make progress toward containment

Firefighters are continuing to battle fires that have killed three people and burned more than 18,000 acres since last week.

According to Cal Fire, firefighters are trying to contain the Saddle Ridge Fire in Riverside County, which began Oct. 10 and has damaged 88 structures while destroying 19 others across more than 8,000 acres.

According to a news release, the fire was at 43 percent containment Monday, but has increased to 56 percent as of Thursday morning. More than 850 personnel are working to contain the fire and its cause remains under investigation. A containment date has yet to be determined.

Here are wildfires that have burned in California this week, as of 7:30 p.m. Thursday:

Caples Fire

Where: El Dorado National Forest, El Dorado County

Size: 3,275 acres

Status: 55 percent containment

The fire began as a prescribed burn project Sept. 30. under favorable conditions after rain and snowstorms. Following red flag weather warnings for windy conditions, fire managers worked to bolster containment lines, but fire activity increased until being declared a wildfire Oct. 10.

The prescribed burns are meant to improve forest health while increasing resilience to fire by maintaining vegetation conditions under which fires are more likely to occur, according to the National Forest Service.

Briceburg Fire

Where: Mariposa County

Size: 5,563 acres

Status: 96 percent contained, evacuations lifted

According to Cal Fire, the blaze is expected to be fully contained by Monday. The number of firefighters on scene has dropped from 1,400 to 230. No additional acreage has been lost since the fire was reported as 75 percent contained Monday. Highway 140 is now open but officials say smoke may linger for several weeks while Buffalo Gulch Road is open to residents only.

Saddle Ridge Fire

Where: Near Sylmar, Los Angeles County

Size: 8,391 acres

Status: 56 percent containment

The fire is responsible for injuries to eight firefighters and one person’s death, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

A local assistance center was scheduled to open Thursday to provide relief to residents affected by the fire. According to a news release, the center will focus on replacing records lost during the fire, filing insurance claims, applying for disaster assistance, information on property cleanup, repair and rebuilding, and community resources for disaster recovery.

Sandalwood Fire

Where: Riverside County

Size: 1,011 acres

Status: 100 percent contained

The Sandalwood Fire was announced as fully contained early Monday evening. Two people were found dead in the Villa Calimesa Mobile Home Park. The fire began Oct. 10 around 2 p.m. after a trash truck dumped a load of burning garbage that spread into vegetation near Calimesa Boulevard and Sandalwood Drive. According to the Riverside County Fire Department, the mobile home park remains uninhabitable.

Mitchel Bobo covers breaking news for The Bee and is a journalism student at Sacramento State. He was born on Travis Air Force Base and raised in Vacaville.
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