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Most California wildfires contained

/ Source: The Associated Press

Nearly all the wildfires sparked by a lightning storm in California last month have been contained.

State fire officials say 98 percent of the more than 2,000 fires ignited June 21 have been surrounded or extinguished. Only 27 are still burning.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Department has opened roads and lifted remaining evacuation requests near the historic community of Big Sur.

Still, officials warn the fire danger remains very high throughout the state. Several small communities still are under evacuation orders because of a fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

The June 21 lightning storm ignited what officials have called the largest fire event in California history. Nearly 1,480 square miles have been scorched across the state. 

The progress has allowed officials to pull back weary fire personnel, which numbered about 25,000 at the peak of the blazes.

Officials say this monthlong fire event wasn't expected to be the only one this year, as the state continues to be plagued with drought. September and October typically bring the most devastating blazes.

"We often see little thunderstorm cells that come in in the summertime. The precipitation it brings is not enough to get into the vegetation, the grasses, to really have a long-term impact on the fire behavior or potential," Berlant said. "It may decrease it for that day or another couple days, but it only takes a few days of dry conditions to bring that potential back again."