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Firefighters hurt after being forced to deploy cocoon shelter in Dolan fire are ‘doing well’

Three firefighters who were injured while battling the Dolan fire burning in Monterey County were recovering Wednesday morning as crews continue working to rein in the blaze that has doubled in size this week, officials said.

In all, 14 firefighters were defending the Nacimiento Station in Los Padres National Forest on Tuesday morning when they had to deploy a shelter, which is used as a last resort and acts as a cocoon to protect them from the heat.

Three of the firefighters were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno for assessment and treatment of injuries that included burns and smoke inhalation, officials said.

The ranger station itself was destroyed.

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All three were “recovering and reported to be doing well” as of Wednesday morning, said Jacob Welsh, public information officer for Pacific Northwest Team 2, an incident management team assigned to the Dolan fire.

“Everything is looking positive with that, and we’re grateful,” he said.

One of the firefighters was originally reported to be in critical condition, but Welsh said that person’s condition is now listed as stable.

The Dolan fire is one of roughly two dozen major blazes chewing through California’s landscape.

The fire ignited Aug. 18 north of Limekiln State Park and exploded this week.

“We saw it double in size a couple nights ago,” Welsh said Wednesday.

The fire had burned through more than 93,000 acres and was 20% contained as of Wednesday morning.

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A California wildfire has destroyed a sanctuary for the endangered California condor. The fate of several birds, including a chick, remains unknown.

Along with strong winds and punishing temperatures in the fire area over recent days, Welsh said crews are also contending with steep, rugged terrain that makes some areas “nearly impossible” to access.

Firefighters are also stretched thin as they battle numerous blazes up and down the West Coast.

“For wildland firefighters, we’ve been in an all-hands-on-deck situation for weeks now,” Welsh said.

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He added: “I’ve never seen anything like this in 20 years.”


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