Fires

Containment of King fire at 74 percent

Containment on the soggy King fire stood at 74 percent as of Friday evening, 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 that fell on the blaze Thursday helped to increase containment and slow the pace of the fire.

“The rain helped a lot,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Michael Williams said. “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 7,200 people are still trying to put the stubborn fire out.

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,” Williams said. “They are always looking at ways to keep those costs down as much as possible.”

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