By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
The River Fire, one of two wildfires known as the Mendocino Complex Fire in northern California, is now fully contained. The River Fire, which consumed 48,920 acres, had no movement overnight, state fire agency Cal Fire reported early Wednesday morning.
“Suppression repair along with patrol will continue on the River Fire,” Cal Fire said.
However, the Ranch Fire remains only 64 percent contained after scorching 314,925 acres. In all, the Mendocino Complex Fire has burned 363,845 acres, making it the largest wildfire in California history.
The massive fire has claimed six lives. Battalion Chief Matt Burchett from Ukiah, Utah, was injured while working on an active portion of the Ranch fire. The firefighter was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he died of his injuries.
Utah Firefighter’s Remains to Receive Honor Guard Escort to Airport
A separate Cal Fire announcement on Wednesday said a Cal Fire Honor Guard and family will escort Burchett’s remains to the Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa at 2:30 p.m. local time for a flight to Salt Lake City.
“The Ranch Fire continues to threaten the Mendocino National Forest as well as communities that reside north of the fire perimeter,” Cal Fire reported. The fire has destroyed 147 homes and 118 other structures. Another 1,025 structures remain threatened.
Throughout the night, the Ranch Fire progressed north. “Steep and rugged terrain, dry fuel, and hot weather continue to challenge suppression efforts. Overnight fire crews constructed control lines and implemented new dozer lines, tying together preexisting containment barriers,” Cal Fire said. “Crews continued structure preparation and defense in the communities threatened by the Ranch Fire.”
Wednesday’s operations will focus on the northwest and northeast edges of the Ranch Fire. Emergency managers are continuing to develop strategic plans to slow the northern push towards Lake Pillsbury.