Firefighters gain ground on Montana, California wildfires
Firefighters in Montana and California gained ground on Monday against wildfires that have scorched thousands of acres of land.
By Monday morning, crews had managed to draw containment lines around roughly a third of the 3,237-acre Reynolds Creek fire in northwestern Montana's Glacier National Park, according to the U.S. Forest Service's InciWeb online fire information center.
The blaze broke out last Tuesday, forcing the closure of campgrounds, a motor inn and several trails, as well as the picturesque Going-to-the-Sun Road which bisects the park, officials said. One building, an historic patrol cabin, has been destroyed.
A majority of the 1 million-acre park, which straddles the Canadian border, was unaffected by the fire and remained open to the public, according to officials. The St. Mary Visitor Center, which sits along Going-to-the-Sun Road, was open on Monday.
In the northern California wine-producing region of Napa County and neighboring Solano County, firefighters continued to combat the 6,591-acre Wragg Fire, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
That blaze broke out on Wednesday near Lake Berryessa, some 77 miles (124 km) north of San Francisco, and grew rapidly, although firefighters have since been able to manage containment around 70 percent of the fire. Officials expect to have the fire fully contained by Tuesday.
Two outbuildings have been consumed by the flames, while three others and a home have been damaged. Several hundred homes in the area were evacuated. That order has since been lifted.
To the south, a 1,521-acre fire forced the evacuation of campgrounds in the Sierra National Forest. The so-called Willow Fire, north of the central California city of Fresno, was only five percent contained as of Monday morning. Firefighters also expected to battle high temperatures and wind, InciWeb said.
Experts have predicted an unusually active and destructive wildfire season in California, as the state grapples with a fourth year of crippling drought.