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California Wildfires: Rough Fire 18th Largest In State History

U.S. Forest Service - Sequoia National Forest / Facebook

File Photo: The Rough Fire is the 18th largest wildfire in California history at 119,069 acres. Additional evacuations were ordered Sept. 11, 2015.

U.S. Forest Service - Sequoia National Forest / Facebook

The Rough Fire in the Sierra National Forest in Fresno County is 29 percent contained at more than 119,000 acres. It is the largest active wildfire in California.

"The Rough Fire is now the 18th largest fire in our state's history and over the past several months has been primarily burning in the national forest," says Daniel Berlant, with Cal Fire.

Berlant says Cal Fire crews will work with U.S. Forest Service firefighters as the fire spreads. 

"Now it is starting to come off of the national forest and threaten private lands that we are responsible for protecting," says Berlant. "We are bringing in additional resources to help keep the communities in Fresno County safe and to do our part to assist in containing this fire." 

rough fire crews flames p 090115 

New evacuations and road closures were issued Friday.

There are more than 2,200 firefighters working the Rough Fire, which was started by lightning in July.

Unhealthy air quality, including smoke from the Rough Fire, is affecting eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has issued an air alert and health warning for poor air quality.

The U.S. Forest Service says "unhealthy to hazardous [air quality] conditions are expected in communities near the fire."

Another downside to the smoke: It may limit the use of air resources, which drop retardant on the fire.

rough fire hand crew p 090815

Crews continue to construct containment lines "north of Grants Grove, continuing west and tying into existing lines at McKenzie Ridge."

"Dry fuels, beetle killed trees, high temperatures, and low relative humidity are contributing to active fire behavior," according to the Friday update. "These conditions exist in steep inaccessible terrain with numerous snags that are making suppression efforts challenging while causing safety concerns for firefighters."

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