California's Lick Fire Nears Containment

With more that 47,000 acres burned and over 1,700 fire personnel working night and day to extinguish the blaze, Santa Clara County's Lick Fire is rapidly approaching containment.

The fire erupted in the early afternoon of September 3 while someone was burning an unknown material in a barrel. Dry, hot, and windy conditions pushed flames rapidly through the rugged terrain of the Henry Coe State Park leading to the loss of several structures and a handful of firefighter injuries.

Firefighters faced numerous challenges during their battle with the blaze including limited access for equipment, fuels that had not burned since 1961, and variable weather conditions.

Assisting firefighters in their battle against the massive vegetation fire was NASA's Ikhana, a variant of the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. Ikhana departed NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center and overflew 11 large fires in California, Oregon and Washington providing accurate thermal imagery that allowed planners too pinpoint hotspots.

Total cost of this fire is in excess of $6.5 million, with 51 hand crews, 28 dozers, 10 helicopters, and 33 water tenders working in concert to quell the flames.