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Donnell Fire threatens largest U.S. juniper tree

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The Donnell Fire was within one-half mile of the Bennett Juniper, which stands 80 feet tall. File Photo courtesy of the Stanislaus National Forest

By Danielle Haynes, UPI

Firefighters in Central California were working to bring a 28,000-acre wildfire to containment Monday before it could destroy the largest known juniper tree in the United States, the U.S. Forest Service said.

The Donnell Fire, which is burning in the Stanislaus National Forest, was 20 percent contained as of 8 a.m. It started Aug. 1 and has destroyed 54 structures, including dozens of cabins and buildings at the Dardanelle Resort, and threatens another 220.

The blaze was within about one-half mile of the so-called Bennett Juniper, an 80-foot-tall tree in Kennedy Meadows. The U.S. Forest Service said firefighters were creating a line of containment from the tree to Highway 108.

[post_ads]The Forest Service closed several areas to guests, including the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, the Calaveras Ranger Districts and Spicer Reservoir. Highway 108 was closed from Eagle Meadow Road to Sonora Pass. Evacuations were in effect along portions of Highway 108.

Mendocino Complex Fire

To the north, the complex of fires comprising the Ranch and River fires was a combined 344,890 acres -- the largest in California history -- and 68 percent contained. Cal Fire said it expects full containment of the fire to happen on Sept. 1.

There were mandatory evacuations in effect for areas of Lake, Mendocino and Colusa counties, with an advisory issued for parts of Glenn County.

The blaze destroyed 147 residences and 118 other buildings as of Monday morning.

Carr Fire

The Carr Fire, also in Northern California, was 202,976 acres and 61 percent contained as of Monday morning, Cal Fire said. The blaze has destroyed 1,077 residences, 22 commercial structures and 500 outbuildings.

It is responsible for two firefighter and six civilian fatalities.

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Donnell Fire threatens largest U.S. juniper tree
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