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Snell Fire in Napa County fully contained as Ranch Fire nears full containment

Sacramento Bee logoSacramento Bee 9/17/2018 By Hannah Darden, The Sacramento Bee

Sept. 16--The week-old Snell Fire, northwest of Lake Berryessa in Napa County, is fully contained, Cal Fire said Saturday night.

The fire burned a total of 2,490 acres since starting near Berryessa Estates and Pope Valley on Sept. 8. No structures were damaged or destroyed, according to a Cal Fire incident update.

Overnight fire crews will continue to monitor the area, Cal Fire said.

The Ranch Fire, the larger of the two Mendocino Complex fires in Lake County, is 98 percent contained as of Saturday afternoon, according to the U.S. Forest Service, and full containment is expected Sunday.

The Complex Fire, made up of the Ranch Fire and the River Fire, has been burning since July 27. The Ranch Fire, on its own the largest in state history, is now 98 percent contained after burning through 410,203 acres, or 640 square miles, while the River Fire is fully contained. In total, the Ranch and River fires has chewed through a total of 459,102 acres (717 square miles), said the Forest Service.

The fires have destroyed 280 total structures in Mendocino and Lake counties.

Three fire fighters have been injured and one died fighting the massive wildfire. On Friday, state fire officials gave new details of the death of Matthew Burchett, the Draper City, Utah, Fire Battalion Chief who died Aug. 13 after a retardant drop by a modified Boeing 747 tanker felled a tree.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the retardant from the SuperTanker fell with such force that it uprooted a nearly 90-foot Douglas fir, killing Burchett and injuring three other firefighters, according to the Cal Fire report. The pilot of the plane did not realize there was an elevation change near the drop site and dropped the retardant from 190 feet instead of 361 feet.

Late Friday, Global SuperTanker Services told the Times by email that one of its planes made the drop that killed Burchett, a firefighter for 20 years.

"We're heartbroken for the families, friends and colleagues of Capt. Burchett and the other brave firefighters who were injured," the statement read. "As proud members of the wildland firefighting community, we, too, have lost a brother."

Some evacuation warnings north of Clear Lake are still in place.

Deer hunting season opened Saturday, and the Forest Service is encouraging forest visitors to exercise extreme caution and watch for firefighting personnel and vehicles near the Ranch Fire area.

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(c)2018 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

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