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Containment Increases In Hog Fire, Gold Fire Burning In NorCal

ADIN, Modoc County (CBS / AP) — Firefighters increased containment of two wildfires in rural northeastern California, authorities said Thursday.

The Gold Fire in northern Lassen County is 15% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The 22-square-mile (57-square-kilometer) fire is south of the Modoc County community of Adin.

Weather was beginning to stabilize and thunderstorm activity was expected to be minimal, but gusty winds and low relative humidity were to continue, Cal Fire said.

Evacuation orders continued in the area of private residences, ranches and commercial operations including agriculture, livestock and timber.

In southern Lassen County, the 15-square-mile (39-square-kilometer) Hog Fire west of Susanville was 26% contained, Cal Fire said. Evacuation orders also continued there.

Firefighters battling the Hog Fire contended with some unusual weather phenomenon earlier this week. On Monday, a fire tornado, which is also known as a "firewhirl" or "firenado" was spotted near Susanville.

Hog Fire - Firewhirl / Firenado
A fire whirl shoots into the sky as flames from the Hog fire jump highway 36 about 5 miles from Susanville, California on July 20, 2020. - The fire exploded to more than 6,000 acres and created its own weather, generating lightning, thunder, rain and fire whirls out of a huge pyrocumulonimbus ash plume towering above. The Lassen County Sheriff's office issued a mandatory evacuation order for the area. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

The following day, firefighters dealt with thunderstorms in the area, along with a hailstorm that dumped dime-sized hail on the flames.

A tree stump keeps burning as hail falls directly on the Hog fire near Susanville, California on July 21, 2020. - A thunderstorm cell mixed with a pyrocumulus ash column from the Hog fire, bringing with it erratic winds and lightning before evolving into a hail storm that extinguished a portion of the fire. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Elsewhere, firefighters contained 85% of the 46-square-mile (119-square-kilometer) Mineral Fire in western Fresno County where seven structures have burned since the blaze started July 13.

Currently, 47 large fires have burned more than 668 square miles (1,732 square kilometers) in 13 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

For the first time since July 2018, the U.S. Forest Service activated National Guard aircraft to supplement contract air tankers.

Two aircraft from the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing are now available at Sacramento McClellan Airport. The C-130s are equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems.

© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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