Elm Fire now 70-percent contained

Fire crews continued on working to extinguish the Elm Fire burning south of Coalinga on Friday. The fire started in the hills near Alcade Road and Elm Avenue Thursday afternoon.
 
As of Friday at 5:40 p.m., the fire has burned more than 10,300 acres and crews have 70-percent of it contained. All the evacuations caused by the fire have also been lifted.
 
Around 500 firefighters from multiple agencies are working to put it out, according to Cal Fire captain Jeremiah Wittwer. While the fire has grown fast due to wind and a lot of available fuel from the dry grass in the area -- crews have been making quick work in containing it.
 
Wittwer said crews faced the same challenges even as they progressed, primarily having to deal with the rugged terrain the fire is in. He said it made it difficult for crews to "make access" to fight the fire.
 
Heat became an added concern with temperatures hitting 90 degrees by the afternoon. Wittwer is worried about the upcoming weekend, where it's going to get close to triple digits.
 
"This is going to be a warm weekend for us. Our goal is to not have any new fires start over the weekend," said Wittwer.
 
The Red Cross had a standby evacuation shelter set up at West Hills Community College in town when evacuation orders were first issued. Disaster program manager Esteban Orozco said it was a good thing no one needed to use it.
 
As fire season begins to ramp up, Orozco advises everyone to be ready for the next fire to start.
 
"Make sure you have a bag set and your belongings set, in case you do get evacuated," Orozco said. "If you see your area is high on the fire list, then make sure you are ready to go in case."
 
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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