Fire Crews Approach Containment Of Sierra Wildfire

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A good day on the fire lines allowed crews to head toward containment of wildfires that have blackened more then 3,000 acres near the rural community of Coleville.

The Vittori fire broke out late Monday and quickly spread to 900 acres. It erupted near where some 470 firefighters were battling a 2,100-acre wildfire that began on Friday in the same area about 70 miles south of Reno, Nev.

The larger blaze was fully contained on Tuesday and crews were pulled off it to attack the Vittori fire. They were joined by 10 helicopters while five single-engine air tankers were sent back to their base.

The smaller fire was 75 percent contained on Tuesday after briefly threatening a Marine Corps housing unit and closing U.S. 395.

The highway linking western Nevada to Southern California reopened at midday.

"Steep, rocky slopes and limited access is expected to slow the progress of firefighters. Air operations combined with crews on the ground will be essential to establish containment and control lines," fire spokesman Franklin Pemberton said on Tuesday.

The fire was burning in grass, sagebrush and mixed pinon-juniper left dust dry by five years of drought.

The area is about 20 miles north of Walker, Calif., where a wildland fire in 2002 covered 23,000 acres. Three men were killed when their air tanker spreading fire retardant crashed after its wings fell off.


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