Crews build containment around destructive California fires

LOS ANGELES — Firefighters continued to build containment around several destructive wildfires burning in California on Sunday, though one stubborn blaze in the northern part of the state grew significantly and crossed the border into Oregon.

The blaze on the California-Oregon state line known as the Klamathon Fire grew to 48 square miles (124 square kilometres) and leapt into Oregon overnight. It was 25 per cent contained.

The fire, one of many in the drought-ridden U.S. West, killed one person in their home and destroyed 72 structures, including houses.

It also injured three firefighters, including one who had severe burns to his face, according to a Gofundme page that raised more than $28,000 for him in less than 24 hours.

The Cal Fire firefighter, Brandon Feller, was injured battling the blaze the day it broke out on Thursday but was making a strong recovery, according to the page.

More than 2,300 firefighters continued to fight the fire Sunday amid low humidity and strong winds. Crews were hoping to keep it from jumping a river and threatening additional communities.

“They made some really good headway on holding the fire so we’re just hoping we can keep it there,” said Suzi Brady, a spokeswoman for the crews fighting the fire.

The state’s largest blaze, the 138-square-mile (357-square-kilometre) County Fire, was 57 per cent contained. It has destroyed 10 structures since it broke out June 30.

Meanwhile in heat-stricken Southern California, crews have built at least 80 per cent containment on two major wildfires — one that destroyed 20 homes in Santa Barbara County and a central San Diego County fire that burned 18 structures.

Other major fires in the state were close to being fully contained.

In southern Colorado, firefighters were making progress Sunday on a wildfire that has burned more than 130 homes and blackened nearly 170 square miles (440 square kilometres).

Investigators say an illegal campfire sparked the blaze east of Fort Garland on June 27, and it has since become the third-largest in state history. It also forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes.

The fire is 55 per cent contained.

Meanwhile, firefighters were taking advantage of rain showers and increased humidity in their battle against a wildfire that has been burning for more than a month near Durango in southwestern Colorado. That fire has scorched about 85 square miles (220 square kilometres) and is 50 per cent contained.

Firefighters are dealing with several major wildfires across Colorado.

In neighbouring Utah, more residents were allowed back into their homes Sunday after being driven out by a wind-fueled fire. The blaze burning near a popular fishing lake 80 miles (130 kilometres) southeast of Salt Lake City is now 30 per cent contained, according to Duchesne County Sheriff’s officials. The wildfire has charred about 75 square miles (193 square kilometres) and destroyed 90 structures, including homes, since starting July 1.

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