Central California wildfire grows; containment also up

California

Flames erupt on a hillside along Mineral Spring Road west of Coalinga, Calif., at the Mineral Fire on Thursday, July 16, 2020. Firefighters aided by helicopters and air tankers battled a 26 square mile (66.7 square kilometers) wildfire in a rural area of Central California that is 20% contained, a fire command statement said. (Craig Kohlruss/The Fresno Bee via AP)

COALINGA, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire in rural western Fresno County grew larger but firefighters also increased containment, authorities said Friday.

The Mineral Fire west of Coalinga expanded to more than 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) and was 30% contained.

Four structures have been destroyed and 60 remained threatened. No injuries were reported.

Evacuations encompassed the community of Bingham Springs and on various roads west to the Monterey County line.

The fire was burning in areas difficult to access and in vegetation with no fire history.

Extreme fire behavior, including rapid uphill and wind-driven runs, were hampering containment efforts.

Eleven helicopters were assigned to the blaze and air tankers from around the state were flying fire suppression missions as conditions allowed.

The fire erupted Monday afternoon near Mineral Springs Road and State Route 198.

The fire is in a portion of Fresno County that has been abnormally dry for several months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Most of the northern half of the state is experiencing some level of drought or abnormal dryness.

In San Benito County, a rural fire west of Panoche was 90% contained after burning more than 2 square miles (5.1 square kilometers).

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