Firefighters Gain Upper Hand on Brush Fire

Wildfire the 2003 Season
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Firefighters kept an eye on the skies Tuesday while making progress on a 3,500-acre wildland fire northwest of Reno.

The Mart fire, burning in grass and sagebrush near Chilcoot, Calif., was 75 percent contained, fire spokeswoman Deborah Yrich said.

"Right now it's looking good,"she said Tuesday afternoon.

The progress was a big improvement over Monday night, when the fire that was then nearly surrounded was whipped back to life by gusty winds and thunderstorms.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was sparked by lightning Sunday. Firefighters hope to have it fully contained Thursday.

One barn was destroyed, but no homes. Some residents, however, were asked to voluntarily evacuate Monday night as a precaution.

Eleven crews from various agencies, assisted by four bulldozers, three helicopters, 19 engines, and five water tenders were battling the fire.

Besides thunderstorms, firefighters also were contending with record heat.

Tuesday marked the third day temperatures in the region hit triple digits.

One firefighter was treated Monday for heat exhaustion, but there have been no other injuries, officials said.