More than 3,000 residents of those dwellings remained displaced,
Larry Pendarvis, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry
and Fire Protection, said.
CalFire also reported the first property losses claimed by the
so-called King Fire, an unspecified number of buildings damaged or
destroyed in a tiny community called White Meadows.
The full extent of damage and the types of structures burned -
whether they were homes or outbuildings or some of both - had yet to
be ascertained, Pendarvis said.
Still, there has been no loss of life and just two people reported
hurt so far - both of them firefighters who suffered
non-life-threatening injuries earlier in the week, he said.
Now ranked as the most menacing of 11 major wildfires raging across
the drought-parched state, the King Fire has charred some 76,500
acres in the El Dorado National Forest, a popular destination for
outdoor enthusiasts northeast of Sacramento.
More than 5,000 firefighters were deployed against the blaze, backed
by 15 water-dropping helicopters and a squad of airplanes dumping
payloads of flame-retardant chemicals.
After battling to carve containment lines around 10 percent of the
fire's perimeter by Thursday, crews made gradual, but steady gains
on Friday, though the official containment figure remained unchanged
through the day, Pendarvis said.
Fire managers were expected to provide an update quantifying their
additional progress on Saturday morning, he said.
Firefighters were taking advantage of improved weather conditions,
most notably higher humidity levels coinciding with an easing of the
heat wave that has baked much of California for a week. Strong,
erratic winds that had stoked the fire earlier in the week have
subsided also, Pendarvis said.
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While the leading edge of the blaze burned mostly away from
populated areas, CalFire said some 21,000 structures were still
threatened, including the 12,000 homes.
The King Fire was ruled an arson, and prosecutors on Thursday
charged a man with deliberately starting the blaze on Saturday,
This year's California fire season, which traditionally runs from
May to October, is on track to be the most destructive on record,
intensified at least in part by a record drought now in its third
year, state officials say.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles;
Additional reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver and Curtis Skinner
in San Francisco; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Simon
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