Firefighters expect full containment of 97,000-acre King fire by Saturday

King fire
Wayne Allen Huntsman, right, appears in El Dorado County Superior Court with Public Defender William Dittman on charges related to the King fire. Huntsman pleaded not guilty to an arson charge.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Full containment of a massive wildfire that scorched roughly 97,000 acres just east of Sacramento is expected by Saturday.

Using information from heat-sensing aerial photography, firefighters are working on extinguishing any hot spots still lingering amid the heavy timber in Eldorado National Forest.

They were constructing lines along active flames to keep them from spreading into unburned areas, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Fire crews have continued cleanup efforts to make roads safer for travel. All forest roads in the burn area, however, remain closed.

Authorities said the King fire was intentionally started Sept. 13 by 37-year-old Pollock Pines resident Wayne Huntsman.

The fast-moving fire destroyed 80 structures, including 12 homes and 68 buildings. At least 10 people were injured in the fire.

At one point during the firefight, the blaze quickly swelled to 50,000 acres, said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

But a rainstorm over the weekend signicantly helped to douse the erratic flames.

U.S. Forest Service officials have reopened popular recreation areas, including Desolation Wilderness, Wrights Lake and the east side of Ice House Road. Road and trail closures in Tahoe National Forest remain in effect.

The King fire is one of two active blazes that firefighters are still battling.

The 132,733-acre Happy Camp Complex in Klamath National Forest is 97% contained.

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