Firefighters Hope To Contain Verdi Fire By Sunday

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Firefighters west of Reno are getting a break from the weather as light winds, slightly higher humidity and a lack of new lightning strikes helped them gain ground on a 1,200-acre complex of wildfires.

The two larger fires still burning were 30 percent surrounded on Friday with full containment expected by Sunday evening.

"We're seeing a lot of activity inside the fire lines but not a lot of actual growth," Kelli Baratti, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center in Minden, said on Thursday.

The complex of four fires were sparked by lightning on Wednesday. One initially threatened a subdivision north of the town of Verdi, 10 miles west of Reno.

Equipment and firefighters from throughout western Nevada responded quickly, stopping the growth of that blaze. There were no evacuations.

Helicopters were busy Wednesday and Thursday, drenching hot spots with swimming pool-sized drops from water buckets. By Friday, most of the battle was on the ground with some 400 firefighters still on the lines - most of them working in hand crews.

Forest Service spokeswoman Christie Kalkowski said firefighters made significant progress on the fire Thursday, holding the fire lines on the northern boundaries despite gusty winds early in the day.

Seventy miles south of Reno, the Cole complex of fires near Coleville, Calif., was declared contained on Thursday with control expected by Wednesday. That 2,833-acre complex consisted of one fire sparked by lightning on Friday and a second that began on Monnday when embers from a cooking fire blew into brush.


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