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Massive Mendocino Complex Fire nearing total containment

by by Daniel Hampton, Patch |

MENDOCINO COUNTY, Calif. — Firefighters are nearing complete containment of the massive Mendocino Complex Fire that has burned nearly 460,000 acres and is one of the largest in California history.

The wildfire consists of the Ranch Fire, which is 98 percent contained, and the River Fire, which is 100 percent contained.
Fire officials announced Sunday that firefighters are working to contain the last section of the Ranch Fire, patrolling so-called "fire lines" and conducting suppression repairs.

There are about 670 miles of fireline that still need suppression repair work, officials said. This refers to cutting down dangerous trees, reducing dirt berms, spreading out cut vegetation and building water bars.

Suppression repairs have been completed for roughly two-thirds of the fire line. The Ranch Fire area remains closed off for all public use including hunting, using guns or off-roading. The U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement is "strictly enforcing" the forest order.

"The purpose of the closure is to provide for public safety, and for the firefighters who are engaged in fire suppression and repair efforts within the Ranch Fire closure area," officials said in a release.

The northern half of the forest remains open for outdoor activities.

Wind blowing in from the coast will send smoke from the Mendocino Complex Fire eastward, officials warned. "Light to moderate impacts" are expected near and to the west of the fire as well as to the east and into the Sacramento Valley.