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Mineral fire in Fresno County grows to 11,000 acres as firefighters battle ‘extreme’ behavior

The Mineral fire in Fresno County has grown to 11,000 acres and prompted evacuations.
The Mineral fire in Fresno County has grown to 11,000 acres and prompted evacuations.
(Los Angeles Times)

A wind-whipped wildfire has now charred 11,000 acres west of Coalinga in Fresno County, and firefighters are contending with “extreme” fire behavior as they work to contain the blaze.

The Mineral fire — which ignited about 3:30 p.m. Monday in the area of South Coalinga Mineral Springs Road and Highway 198 — was 5% contained as of Wednesday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The blaze has forced the evacuation of the community of Bingham Springs and residents on Los Gatos Creek Road from Indian Springs to Union Carbide Road. A Cal Fire spokeswoman could not immediately provide an estimate of how many residents were affected.

No structures have been damaged or destroyed, but 50 were threatened as of 6 a.m., according to a Cal Fire update.

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As California’s wildfire season approaches, authorities are worried about their ability to muster a healthy firefighter force amid coronavirus crisis.

The fire “is currently burning in difficult-to-access areas and in fuels with no fire history,” officials wrote in the update. “Containment efforts will be hampered due to extreme fire behavior, which includes rapid uphill and wind-driven runs.”

An estimated 555 personnel were battling the blaze as of Wednesday morning. Expected containment is July 24, according to Cal Fire.

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