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Mill Fire 75 percent contained; backfire operations completed
Firefighters have kept the Mill Fire above Goat Mountain Road and away from homes in western Colusa County as backfire operations have now been completed, US Forest Service officials said.
The fire, which started July 7 and has consumed 29,552 acres as of Tuesday morning, is 75 percent contained as crews continue to secure a perimeter around the entire blaze in Colusa and Glenn counties.
It was the second straight day that Stonyford residents had relatively clean air to breath, and enjoyed a considerable drop in temperature as well.
The only visible smoke in the area came from Goat Mountain, where the backfiring operations had been used to secure containment lines along the southeast flank of the blaze.
"They will continue to secure containment lines around the fire perimeter and extinguish hot spots from the fire's edge up to 300 feet inside the lines. Fire repair efforts have begun along the west, north, and east flanks of the fire," the US Forest Service reported.
It looked like the winds Sunday might breath life back into the fire, helping the flames jump a containment line near Little Stony Creek campground, resulting in two small spot fires that totaled approximately 4 acres, the Forest Service reported.
Those fires were contained by around 10 p.m.
"It sure looks a lot better than it did last week," said Carl Tomei, who delivered supplies to a friend in the Stonyford area on Monday.
"I could hardly breath the last time I came up here."
Local air districts lifted air quality alerts, but authorities still caution residents about the health risks of smoke, especially with the backfire operations likely continuing through Tuesday.
Still, evacuations remain in effect for the areas of Fouts Springs, Bonnie View, and Board Camp Springs, as well as campgrounds within the Upper Letts Lake area, officials reported.
Several roads in the area remain closed, including the Stonyford-Lodoga Road leading into Stonyford from the east.
Forest service officials said the closures are for the safety of fire crews still working in the area.
The fire is considered to be 67 percent contained. The cost to fight the blaze has risen to $12.1 million, the Forest Service reported.
Four firefighters have suffered what have been described as minor injuries.
Five outbuildings have been lost.