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Firefighters make progress against Geysers fire

  • Fire rages along the slopes of the Geysers geothermal field, Friday Nov. 22, 2013 just off Geysers Road east of Geyserville. (Kent Porter / PD)

A large wildfire burning in the remote Geysers geothermal area in northeastern Sonoma County continued to expand Saturday, rolling through dry brush and woodland to burn a total of 3,000 acres since early Friday.

At times when the wind was strongest, at 25 to 30 mph, flames threatened about a dozen homes and up to four geothermal power plants tucked deep within the Mayacmas range northeast of Geyserville.

But firefighters made progress against the McCabe fire, attacking it with five times the personnel from Friday and more resources, including 120 engines, 27 bulldozers, 14 helicopters and two air tankers.

Soda Canyon And Geysers Fire

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After being grounded Friday amid strong winds and smoky conditions that made their drops ineffective, aircraft were able to douse hot spots inside the fire and active flames along the front, allowing hand crews and other equipment to strengthen containment lines.

A total of 1,758 firefighters and personnel were assigned to the McCabe fire Saturday. The blaze was 25 percent contained by 8 p.m., according to Cal Fire, the state firefighting agency.

No injuries were reported.

Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean said the work went “really well” after winds died down later in the day.

“It was a pretty good effort that was put out by the aircraft,” which slowed and cooled the flames for the crews on the ground, he said. “It's a concert of everything working together. It's not one thing that puts the fire out.”

That said, the diminishing winds played the biggest factor in firefighters' headway Saturday, and the weather should remain in their favor for the start of this week. Sustained winds are forecast to drop below 10 mph in the region, with rain predicted for the middle of the week.

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