Wildfire Threatens Marine Housing Facility

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High winds were hampering firefighters in their battle Saturday against a 400-acre wildfire that threatened a Marine housing facility along the eastern Sierra Nevada.

Fire officials said they had no containment lines around the fire as of late Saturday afternoon, and were concerned that winds could push the blaze toward the housing unit north of Coleville, located about 80 miles south of Reno, Nev.

The facility, which is about two miles from the fire, is for those at the nearby U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Pickel Meadows near Sonora Pass.

Fire information officer Franklin Pemberton said an undetermined number of homes and structures in the Holbrook Junction and Topaz Lake areas of Nevada also were still threatened late Saturday afternoon.

No evacuations had been ordered yet, but down-canyon gusts of up to 40 mph had the potential to push the fire toward the homes, he said.

Officials at the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center in Minden said the blaze shut down U.S. 395 from the Nevada line to Bridgeport on Friday night, but the highway reopened Saturday morning.

Two smaller wildfires in the area - one 20 acres and the other six acres - were fully contained Saturday.

Pemberton said all three blazes were sparked by lightning either Thursday or Friday.

About 250 firefighters were working to keep the largest of the fires from moving into heavier fuels and toward homes, he said.

Several helicopters and an air tanker were assisting firefighters.

There was no estimated containment time for the blaze burning in brush and pinon-juniper timber.

The fire also was threatening habitat for mule deer and Lahontan cutthroat trout, Pemberton said.