Mendocino Forest wildfire spreads to 16,000 acres

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(AP) – Federal fire officials say a wildfire in the Mendocino National Forest has now burned more than 16,000 acres and continues to spread.

Fire information officer Deb Schweizer said Wednesday that the fire was spreading mostly along its southern flank despite being under 35 percent containment. Firefighters have not been able go directly in that area due to its steepness.

Schweizer says officials have now issued an air quality alert due to heavy smoke in the area as more than 1,300 firefighters are battling the blaze in rugged terrain near Letts Lake. The flames have already led to campground closures and several homes evacuated.

The cause of the fire still has not been determined. Crews are also battling a separate blaze several miles to the east in Colusa County that is now 70 percent contained.

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