Crews cross fingers, move in on flames

RENO - Optimism is slowly replacing gloom in the camps at Nevada's two largest wildland fires as the flames slowed their advance and crews began making some inroads.

''Last night quieted down quite a bit after pretty severe runs the two previous evenings,'' Bureau of Land Management spokesman Bill Roach said from Elko.

Sixty miles northeast of him, the Cricket fire northeast of Wells was holding at about 65,000 acres and was 40 percent contained after setting its own pace since it was sparked by lightning on Wednesday.

Fire bosses had been reluctant to put too many of their 460 people on the lines because of the erratic winds and single-digit humidity combined with temperatures approaching 100 degrees.

Roach said no serious injuries had been reported and the only known structural loss appeared to be two to four camp trailers.

''We don't know if they were abandoned deer camps or maybe belonged to sheep herders. They were kind of scroungy,'' he said.

A large mobile home barely escaped the flames, which licked at its back steps, he said.

At least one structure also was overrun by the 14,000-acre Coyote fire burning near the Utah line in extreme east central Nevada. Crews struggled to build a line around 10 percent of its perimeter.

The Phillips Ranch Fire, which was estimated to have burned about 800 acres of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Great Basin National Park in extreme eastern Nevada, also defied containment.

The rugged terrain allowed only aerial attacks as flames threatened stands of ancient bristlecone pines which sprouted 2,000 years before the birth of Christ.

The Cottonwood fire southeast of Lovelock was 95 percent contained. Remapping increased its size from about 2,000 acres to 4,900.

So far this year, 550 fires have consumed at least 310,000 acres in Nevada compared to last year's record 1.7 million acres. Nationally, more than 3.3 million acres have burned this year.


On the Net:

Western Great Basin Coordinating Center:

National Interagency Fire Center:


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