Fast-Moving Fire Threatens Scores Of Upscale Homes In Nevada

Monday, July 16th 2007, 9:21 pm

By: News On 6

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ A fast-moving wildfire fanned by gusty winds threatened hundreds of upscale homes Monday and forced many residents to evacuate, officials said.

The smoky blaze was spreading thanks to winds gusting to 30 mph and had burned at least 120 acres of brush and some timber, said Reno Fire Department spokesman Steve Frady.

Homes in the area range in value from $600,000 to multimillion-dollar estates. Frady estimated the number of threatened homes at 150 to 250 but said that number was ``very conservative.''

More than 150 firefighters were battling the fire, aided by two air tankers. More fire crews were en route.

``This is potentially very dangerous,'' Frady said. ``The fire has burned up to the backyards of some homes.''

Mike Trudell, manager of the Caughlin Ranch Homeowners Association, said that the fire might have started near a construction site, but that he didn't know exactly where or the cause.

Meanwhile, crews used bulldozers and hand tools to clear a break in thick forest near the northwestern California town of Happy Camp, near the Oregon border. Residents were told to prepare for evacuations as the lightning-ignited blaze bore down on more than 300 homes.

That fire had covered more than 4,700 acres _ about 7 square miles _ in the Klamath National Forest, officials said. More than 1,100 firefighters were working to contain the fire, which was about 15 percent surrounded.

In Utah, the state's largest wildfire ever was fully contained Monday after scorching 567 square miles, despite isolated flare-ups within the containment zone. Utah's five other major wildfires were either fully contained or close to it Monday, officials said.

Higher winds and thunderstorms were also expected to boil up throughout much of Utah early this week. The thunderstorms could bring some rain or just dry lightning, which could spark new fires.

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