TULARE COUNTY, California (KGPE) – Containment nearly doubled on the SQF Complex Fire Monday, rising from 18% to 33%.
“When the fire is burning in the hills behind us it doesn’t have a spot that’s going to stop it until we create one,” Chad Carroll with Cal Fire said.
Successful backfiring operations are underway in the Wishon area, on the southern end of the west zone, where firefighters are stopping the flames from spreading.
“What we’re doing basically is just eliminating some of the vegetation and some of the combustible materials that are in front of the flame front, so it can burn itself out if and when it reaches that point,” said fire information officer Joe Amador.
More than 1,400 people are now working to hold and build on containment lines.
“Over the last couple of days you’re starting to see black lines on the maps that we’re publishing. And that shows you areas where the fire management team is very comfortable that the fire is not going to be continuing to grow in those directions,” Carroll said.
As firefighters get a handle on the flames, evacuation orders are being scaled back in several places including Cherokee Oaks and parts of Three Rivers. However, more than 180 structures are reported destroyed and 150 of them identified as homes.
“We are going to be actively fighting this fire from the air and the ground for many days to come,” warned Cal Fire’s Jeff Veik.