Crews inch toward containment of Elk Complex fires

HAPPY CAMP, Calif. — Crews now have built 62 miles of fire line to corral the lightning-sparked Elk Complex fires.

Of the 30 fires in the complex, 25 now are contained, including the Little Grider fire that burned closest to Happy Camp. Crews wrapped up three days of "burning out" to remove fuel inside the containment lines on the Little Grider fire on Tuesday, Forest Service officials said Wednesday.

The entire complex is considered 34 percent contained. Suppression crews have built 27 miles of fire line with bulldozers and 35 miles with hand tools and chainsaws. Some containment lines utilized existing roads in the area.

There are about 1,150 firefighters working the fires, which were sparked two weeks ago. As of Wednesday morning, firefighting efforts had cost an estimated $9.9 million, the Forest Service reported.

Line construction and fuel removal continued Wednesday on the Wingate, Titus and King Creek 2 fires.

The 3,054-acre King Creek 2 fire is 25 percent contained. The 1,182-acre Wingate fire is 8 percent contained. The 2,043-acre Titus fire is 5 percent contained, but a recommended evacuation for homeowners and closure for campers and miners remain in place.

The 1,144-acre Elk fire is 96 percent contained, with lines built on the fire's northern and eastern sides. The Hummingbird fire inside the Marble Mountain Wilderness has burned about 80 acres and has no containment lines in place, but no growth is being reported.

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