Firefighters get help battling Coleville blaze
June 6, 2007
COLEVILLE, Calif. – More than 200 residents were allowed to return to their homes Wednesday as cooler temperatures, calmer winds and reinforcements helped firefighters work to contain a wildfire along the eastern Sierra.
No homes were lost, though officials said two outbuildings were destroyed by the blaze estimated at 1,400 acres, or 2 square miles. It was about 25 percent contained at midday.
“It was 37 degrees at dawn,” fire spokesman Mark Struble said. “Once that front blew through, the winds shifted around more out the north, and started pushing the fire back into itself.”
A 40-mile stretch of U.S. 395, a key highway near the Nevada-California line to Bridgeport, was also reopened Wednesday, though traffic was detoured in the immediate burn area.
The fire was sparked by lightning on Friday. Strong winds on Tuesday spread it quickly, forcing residents from Coleville, nearby Walker and a U.S. Marine Corps housing complex to evacuate.
Struble said two helicopters were making water drops on Wednesday and fire crews were digging containment lines.
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“They can afford to be much more aggressive today,” he said. “We really don’t think it’s going to be as gusty or erratic as it was yesterday.”
Another wildfire that has burned about 3,900 acres in the Sequoia National Forest is expected to be fully contained by this weekend. Residents in about 20 cabins and trailers were still being kept out of the Horse Meadow recreation area.