Firefighters increase River Fire containment levels, seeing ‘light at the end of the tunnel’

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MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calfifornia. (KGPE) – The size of the River Fire remains at 9,500 acres but containment is now 21% – an improvement from Tuesday’s 15%.

“It’s almost like the light at the end of the tunnel… We see the progress going in, we see the hard work that we’re putting in,” said Edwin Zuniga from CAL Fire.

More than 1,500 personnel worked through the night on Tuesday to increase containment levels.

“The 21% containment that we do have is on the western portion of the fire, and we’re going to continue to build off of that,” Zuniga said

Zuniga says crews are now shifting their focus to the eastern side of the fire where there’s more activity.

“Looking for smoke, looking for hot spots and making sure that we put them out, to prevent whatever that is from potentially rolling down,” he said.

One structure and four minor structures have been destroyed, but there have been zero civilian or first responder injuries or fatalities.

Resources increased after the Madera County sheriff issued a local state of emergency, bringing the total number of engines to 121, with 12 hand crews and nine helicopters.

“Unless another major wildfire incident breaks out in the state where it takes priority over this, we’ll see a steady number of firefighters on this incident,” Zuniga said.

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