Ferguson Fire reaches full containment

A firefighter crew poses for a photo after reaching full containment of the Ferguson Fire, Sunday morning, Aug. 19, 2018. (COURTESY OF SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST)

After over a monthlong battle between firefighters and Mother Nature, the Ferguson Fire is fully contained at 96,901 acres, officials announced Sunday, Aug. 19.

While crews have reached a significant milestone, there is still more work to be done. Firefighters will continue to patrol, mop-up and repair firelines. During the heat of the day, some interior islands of unburned vegetation will continue to ignite, but they are not a threat to containment lines. Resources continue to assess and remove hazard trees along roads, especially on the Wawona Road between Chinquapin and Tunnel View.

There are 881 personnel currently assigned to the incident.

The Ferguson Fire started on Friday night, July 13 at 9:36 p.m. in the South Fork Merced River drainage on Sierra National Forest. In the steep, rugged terrain, with scarcely any road access and a heavy presence of beetle-killed trees, firefighters knew it would be more than a challenge to contain.

In the end, the fire left its mark. It took the lives of heavy equipment operator Braden Varney and Capt. Brian Hughes, of the Arrowhead Hotshots, and injured 19 others. The incident is also responsible for the destruction of 10 structures.

During the most critical time in the fire, over 3,000 people were assigned to the incident from all over the world.

Full containment was expected on Wednesday, Aug. 22, however on Saturday evening, Aug. 18, the fire was 100 percent contained. Interior parts of the forest will continue to smolder and burn for some time, causing lingering smoke.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.