The Garza Fire burning near Avenal in Kings County surpassed the Alamo Fire in size to become the largest active wildfire in California on Friday.
The fire, which started Sunday near Tar Canyon Road and has since spread to Fresno County, was 41,709 acres and 60 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. Its smoke can easily be seen from northern San Luis Obispo County.
In comparison, the Alamo Fire east of Santa Maria was at 28,687 acres and was 92 percent contained Friday evening.
According to Cal Fire, the cause of the Garza Fire remains under investigation. An advisory evacuation warning was in place west of Highway 33, north of the Fresno County line and south of Jacalitos Creek, Cal Fire said.
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More than 1,300 fire personnel were on scene, including the California National Guard, which has sent helicopters to assist. Firefighters reached a hunting cabin Thursday that was destroyed by flames that have burned through the tall grass and brush northwest of Tar Canyon.
Alarmed residents nearly 30 miles away in Atascadero and Paso Robles have reported seeing smoke rising out of the hills to the east. “We are aware of the visibility of the Garza Fire,” Cal Fire wrote in a statement, “and are actively monitoring that situation and its proximity to San Luis Obispo.”
Along with the Garza Fire, smoke from the Whittier Fire in Santa Barbara County, the Schaeffer Fire in Tulare County and the Alamo Fire near Santa Maria could affect particulate matter in the air.
The Garza Fire is one of nine wildfires in California as of Friday.
The Schaeffer Fire, at 16,002 acres, is burning in the Tulare County mountains and was 61 percent contained as of Friday. The Whittier Fire in Santa Barbara County was 52 percent contained and has burned more than 13,000 acres, Cal Fire said.