Nevada, California, Oregon battle fires |

Nevada, California, Oregon battle fires

The Associated Press

The fire situation is severe across the entire region as more than 8,500 firefighters battled fires in the West:

n Firefighters across northern Nevada hoped calmer winds Monday would give them the edge they need over dozens of wildland fires burning from one side of the state to the other. More than 190,000 acres have burned since thunderstorms marched across Nevada late last week, most of it grassland.

The largest Nevada blaze, 25 miles north of Battle Mountain, burned 82,000 acres as of early Monday, but firefighters hoped calmer winds would help them gain ground.

”It kicked our butt yesterday,” fire spokesman Nick Zufelt said early Monday. ”But crews last night made great progress.”

n More than 900 firefighters and support personnel battled a lightning-triggered range fire east of Ravendale, about 50 miles north of Susanville, that had grown to 55,000 acres Monday.

The Observation fire was 30 percent contained as of Monday morning, said Jeff Fontana, a spokesman for the Susanville Interagency Fire Center. There was no estimate for when the fire might be contained.

With temperatures topping 90 degrees in the past days, hot weather and dry winds continued to cause problems Monday, Fontana said.

”The past few days have been difficult,” Fontana said. ”It’s rough terrain, tough to get around. It’s very rocky and steep in some areas.”

Thirteen ranch homes were threatened by the fire as well as a major power line that provides power to the Reno area, Fontana said.

Forty-five fire engines and five air tankers responded to the blaze, which was reported at 6 p.m. Thursday.

n Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber declared a state of emergency to free up National Guard troops for fire duty in his state as firefighters battled a 4,500-acre wildfire in southern Oregon.

At least 30 fires were burning across Oregon, including a 4,500-acre blaze in Ruch – about five miles southwest of Ashland – that had destroyed two homes, forced the evacuation of several others and was still growing.

Aerial tankers, seven helicopters and 935 firefighters battled the blaze just north of the California border.

n A lightning-sparked fire burned 16,000 acres about 13 miles east of Likely, a small community in the far northeast corner of the state.

The Blue Fire, which began Thursday, was 10 percent contained as of Monday, said Modoc National Forest Officer Nancy Gradner. She estimated full containment by Aug. 22.

Twelve hundred firefighters and personnel, 80 fire engines, and seven helicopters responded to the fire.

n A wildfire burning in Mendocino National Forest, also in California, had claimed 12,086 acres since it began Wednesday. More than 1,500 firefighters as well as 14 helicopters, six air tankers and four bulldozer were fighting that fire.

n The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise on Monday went to Level Four status for the first time this year, reflecting the increased fire activity in northern California, Nevada and Washington and Oregon. The preparedness level ranges from one to five.

The decision opened the door for military involvement in fire suppression.

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