American River fires nearly contained |

American River fires nearly contained

Firefighters made swift advances this week against blazes in the American River region, and the complex of fires there is 95-percent contained, forestry officials said Tuesday.

The Government Springs /Westville fire has torched nearly 20,000 acres. The fire continues to burn in Big Valley Canyon, with helicopters dropping buckets of water and hotshot crews – who go into the steepest and most dangerous terrain – monitoring operations, forestry officials said.

Firefighters walked other areas with hand-held global positioning devices to find hot spots and put them out, according to a statement from the Tahoe National Forest. On Monday, they had flown in a helicopter equipped with an infrared heat detector to find the hot spots.

As a result of the progress, firefighters are scaling back their operations to complete the perimeter line and complete rehabilitation projects. Such projects include grading roads damaged by firefighting equipment and clearing culverts.

Statewide, 33 fires remain burning out of nearly 2,100 that started when a lightning storm blew across California on June 21.

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