Indians fire 31 percent contained

June 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Firefighters gained ground Thursday against the Indians Fire in the Los Padres National Forest in Monterey County, bringing containment of the wildfire to 40 percent, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

The Indians Fire, which has been burning in the Los Padres National Forest in Monterey for the past week, has now consumed 33,085 acres and is only 31 percent contained, the U.S. Forest Service reported today.

The blaze is currently threatening 660 residences and 150 other structures in the Bear Canyon and Coleman Canyon areas.

Firefighters spent the night working to protect the homes and to set up fire lines ahead of the blaze, which has continued to move north and northeast.

Firefighters still have about 31 miles of fire line to construct, the Forest Service reported.

A total of eight firefighters have been injured. The most recent injury occurred Saturday night when a firefighter suffered a minor chainsaw wound.

The fire began at 12:30 p.m. June 8 about 14 miles west of King City in the Ventana Wilderness and the Arroyo Seco-Indians Road corridor. Fire officials believe an escaped campfire triggered the blaze, the Forest Service reported.

Steep terrain, limited access, heavy fuels and dry, gusty winds are making it difficult for firefighters to contain the flames.

There is currently no estimated time when the fire will be fully contained.

Summer cabins in the Santa Lucia Tract and six residences on private land at the north edge of Fort Hunter Liggett have been evacuated.

A portion of the Ventana Wilderness and adjacent forestlands in the general vicinity of the fire, as well as Arroyo Seco-Indians and Cone Peak roads, are closed. The Memorial and Escondido campgrounds are also closed and the Arroyo Seco Campground is scheduled to close at noon today.

The forest services reported that, to date, the effort to put out the blaze has cost $6,300,000. A total of 1,944 fire personnel were working to put out the fire today.


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