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CalFire: 'We Are Making Headway' In Mendocino Complex Fire Battle

UPPER LAKE (CBS SF) -- Thousands of firefighters in Mendocino and Lake counties on Wednesday continued to battle the wildfires that have forced thousands to evacuate the region since Sunday.

According to Cal Fire officials, over 3,000 firefighters managed some success improving containment lines on the two fires that make up the Mendocino Complex while continuing to build and improve contingency lines ahead of the fire.

The River Fire and the Ranch Fire continued to grow rapidly, fueled by dry brush and fanned by wind and high temperatures.

"We are making headway and we are feeling optimistic if we can just get a change in the weather," said Cal Fire spokesperson Sean Kavanaugh. "We've been getting these extreme winds in the afternoon that have been hampering our control operations."

The Ranch Fire was approximately 15 percent contained Wednesday evening after growing to 61,514 acres in size. The River Fire was at 38 percent containment and had grown to 33,398 acres.

As many as 14,600 residents have been evacuated, fire officials said, and more than 12,000 structures are threatened.

Meanwhile, Sonoma County sheriff's officials assured residents Wednesday evening they are monitoring a wildfire that broke out in Mendocino County just north of the Sonoma County line.

As of 6:18 p.m. the fire was burning about 2.5 miles north of the county line. Sonoma County sheriff's deputies are assisting Mendocino County deputies and fire personnel.

Sheriff's officials said at this time no threat exists to Sonoma County residents and no evacuation orders are in place for Sonoma County residents.

Residents are encouraged to monitor the Nixle and Facebook pages of the sheriff's office for updates.

Earlier Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown promised the many fire-stricken areas of the state would receive the help they need.

"Whatever resources are needed, we're putting them there," Gov. Jerry Brown said at a news conference. "We're being surprised. Every year is teaching the fire authorities new lessons. We're in uncharted territory."

Just a month into the budget year, the state has already spent more than one-quarter of its annual fire budget, at least $125 million, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Mike Mohler said.

Officials reported that over 1,000 homes were destroyed in and around the city of Redding alone.



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