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Mosquito Fire now California's largest of the year at 64,159 acres

California's Mosquito wildfire - now the state's largest - is 20% contained as of Thursday with at least 70 structures destroyed and 64,159 active acres in two counties, according to Cal Fire. Photo via Cal Fire Twitter
California's Mosquito wildfire - now the state's largest - is 20% contained as of Thursday with at least 70 structures destroyed and 64,159 active acres in two counties, according to Cal Fire. Photo via Cal Fire Twitter

Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Fire officials in California said Thursday that the Mosquito Fire was now the largest in the state in 2022, burning more than 64,000 acres.

The wildfire in Eldorado and Placer counties has grown to 64,159 active acres after beginning Sept. 6 at Mosquito Road and Oxbow Reservoir east of Foresthill in Placer County, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire said.

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The blaze was 20% contained Thursday, with 3,655 active fire-fighting personnel, according to Cal Fire. While no deaths or injuries have been reported, the Mosquito fire has destroyed at least 70 structures. Flare-ups this week helped the fire grow by more than 14,000 acres.

Firefighters are focused on protecting the Foresthill and Placer communities, dropping fire retardants from large aircraft.

"Today's priorities remain securing each of the three corners of the fire," Cal Fire wrote in a situation summary statement Thursday. "Firefighters have been very successful in holding the control lines along the communities of Todd Valley and Foresthill despite challenging fire conditions on Tuesday."

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Cal Fire's statement said crews and heavy equipment, including a large number of dozers, continue to construct indirect lines adjacent to steep and rugged terrain to the east of the main firefront.

"Firefighters continued working throughout the night, patrolling, mopping up, and securing control lines around the south and east sides of the fire," according to Cal Fire's Thursday update.

Cal Fire said Thursday's weather, slightly cooler with lighter southwest winds, will continue to "push out the smoke inversion and provide clear air over the fire area."

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The dry conditions and the wind make it very easy for flare-ups to happen.

"With the critically dry fuels in the area, it only takes a small ember to start a spot fire and spread rapidly in the steep terrain," Cal Fire said.

Evacuation orders were in place Thursday for 8 zones in Placer County and 7 in El Dorado County.

Extensive firefighter mop-up operations are underway in the communities of Todd Valley and Foresthill as well as on portions of the fire line north of Volcanoville, according to Cal Fire.

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