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Crews battle California blaze as state fire danger grows

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                A firefighter works to knock down hot spots on a hillside along Mineral Spring Road west of Coalinga, Calif., while fighting the Mineral Fire on Thursday. Firefighters aided by helicopters and air tankers battled a 26 square mile wildfire in a rural area of Central California that is 20% contained, a fire command statement said.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A firefighter works to knock down hot spots on a hillside along Mineral Spring Road west of Coalinga, Calif., while fighting the Mineral Fire on Thursday. Firefighters aided by helicopters and air tankers battled a 26 square mile wildfire in a rural area of Central California that is 20% contained, a fire command statement said.

COALINGA, Calif. >> A wildfire in rural central California grew larger but firefighters also increased containment, authorities said today.

Low humidity and hot temperatures have raised fire danger in large portions of the state.

The Mineral Fire in western Fresno County expanded to more than 39 square miles and was 35% contained.

Four structures have been destroyed and 60 remained threatened. No injuries were reported.

The blaze was burning in areas difficult to access and in vegetation with no fire history. The fire erupted nearly a week ago west of Coalinga.

In neighboring San Benito County, crews have nearly surrounded a rural fire west of Panoche that burned more than 2 square miles of dry brush and timber.

To the south in Los Angeles, crews protected homes from a brush fire that burned near properties in the Van Nuys neighborhood on Saturday.

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