Containment on King fire climbs again, to 68 percent

Containment on the soggy King fire stands at 68 percent Friday, with the wildfire seeming to be on its way to finally being tamed.

Fourteen days after it was set by an arsonist, the King fire has burned an estimated 97,009 acres, which is an increase of 1,662 acres overnight.

The three-quarters of an inch of rain the fell on the blaze Thursday helped to increase containment and slow the pace of the fire.

“The rain helped a lot,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Michael Williams. “The rain does not put the fire out but it keeps it in check, raises the humidity and allows our firefighters to get in there really close and work that fire.”

However, he said, the negative with rain is that safety concerns can crop up due to slippery ground.

“A lot of these roads are treacherous to drive on even in the best of conditions,” Williams said.

Another telling statistic on the fire is that 1,000 firefighters and support staff have been allowed to go home. About 7,000 people are still trying to put the stubborn fire out.

Even as firefighters gain an upper hand on the blaze, smoke from the fire is intensifying in the Sacramento region, particularly in Placer and El Dorado Counties, according to the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District’s website. The district’s 9 a.m. Friday readings showed air quality to be unhealthy for all groups in Roseville and very unhealthy in Folsom.

The fire has now cost about $71 million to fight.

“It’s a lot of money but at the same time it is something that is necessary – to put this thing out safely and efficiently,” said Williams. “They are always looking at ways to keep those costs down as much as possible.”

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