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Crews work to contain Aspen fire at high cost

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Aspen fire burning in the Sierra National Forest in Fresno County has grown in size.

The fire was sparked by lighting a week ago and has already burned 11,000 acres near Huntington Lake.

Fire resources from all over the state are being used to keep the fire from spreading  costing millions of dollars to contain.

The smoky haze over Huntington Lake takes away from what would otherwise be a clear, scenic view of the waterfront. But that isn't stopping families from enjoying the lake. "The smoke blows in during the morning and then in the afternoon it kind of clears during the day, so there is some kind of thick spots," said Andrew Ahten.

Ahten is vacationing with his family and pets but the bad air isn't getting to him. As an L.A. County firefighter, he says he is use to it. "When it gets thick we try to limit our activity. I just got back from my run, taking advantage of the clear time," said Ahten.

But for firefighters who have spent the past week on the frontlines, getting a handle on the fire has been a challenge. "Some of the challenges are the steep terrain, the dozers getting through, finding good access to cut a line across the fire," said Robert Carvalho with CalFire.

More than 11,000 acres have already burned, 1,479 fire crews throughout the state are helping control the flames. They are attacking the wildfire both from the ground and from the air  at a cost of $5.7 million. "We have the air tankers, the helicopters; they're supporting the crew down below. They are laying retardant drops across the line to slow down the progress of the fire," said Carvalho.

The fire has not threatened any homes or people in the area. Still, it is having a negative impact on the air quality in the foothills and mountain areas.

At this point, the fire is just 20 percent contained. Officials expect full containment by August 10.

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fresno county, widlfire, local, carlos saucedo
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