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Worst of California wildfires half contained

Crews finally round the bend on Ferguson, Carr, Mendocino Complex Fires

Mendocino-Complex Fire Scorches 70,000 Acres In Northern California
Fire crews working on the River Fire near Lakeport.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This week marked a potential turning point in the devastating summer California wildfire outburst, although there’s still long and dangerous work to be done and fire conditions make it difficult to anticipate what may happen next.

As of Friday morning, Northern California’s three worst ongoing fires—the Carr Fire ravaging Shasta County; the Ranch (Mendocino Complex) Fire that broke records as the state’s largest of all time; and the Ferguson Fire, which has threatened Yosemite National Park for nearly a month—are all at least 50 percent contained.

The progress is fragile and reversible depending on how the blazes grow.

Cal Fire now reports that the Carr Fire is roughly 178,752 acres in size and about 53 percent contained by fire lines. Sparked July 23, the Carr Fire ranks as the sixth most destructive fire in state history, a statistic likely to rise before all is said and done.

The Ranch Fire (the largest element of the two-part Mendocino Complex Fire) now measures at 258,527 acres and is just 51 percent contained at the latest update.

The counterpart River Fire is itself more than 80 percent contained, and the two between them have burned across more than 300,000 acres. In all, the state agency still estimates that the burns threaten more than 9,000 homes.

Mendocino-Complex Fire Scorches 70,000 Acres In Northern California Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Finally, the Yosemite-based Ferguson Fire, now nearly a month old, looks like it might finally be on the way to wrapping up, as Cal Fire reports that crews have achieved 80 percent containment on the 95,000-plus acre conflagration.

According the most recent Ferguson Fire incident report:

The final piece that must be secured remains between El Portal Road and Wawona Road. To secure this line, firefighters are implementing tactical burning operations along Wawona road north towards Turtle Dome. This operation is expected to take two or three days to complete. [...] Progression will be slow and deliberate, when safe, due to the extremely dry vegetation.

For progress reports on fires statewide, check into Curbed SF’s ongoing California Wildfires Map.