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CA, NV fire threatens 200+ homes

BY SUSAN KIM | TOPAZ LAKE, NV | July 16, 2002

A 10,500-acre wildfire was threatening some 250 homes in and around Topaz Lake, NV Tuesday. The fire was moving along the California-Nevada line.

The tiny town of Topaz, CA was under voluntary evacuation as the fire drew within half a mile. The communities of Holbrook Junction and Holbrook Heights were also under a voluntary evacuation order. Residents in Lake Topaz were without electricity and phones Tuesday since the fire had burned through power lines south of that community.

Trained volunteers from The Salvation Army were on standby and ready to deploy mobile kitchens, said Carole Miller of the Armyís Reno office. Teams could be ready to go with one hourís notice, she said, and would be able to provide 500 meals immediately, as well as more meals over the long-term.

The blaze was sparked by lightning last week and grew rapidly over the weekend, fueled by high winds, low humidity, and temperatures in the mid 90s. It was 10 percent contained Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile residents from rural central Oregon returned home after firefighters were gaining ground on a 17,300-acre wildfire that burned 18 homes.

And in southwestern Colorado, 25 homes remained evacuated Tuesday as winds pushed a 27,000-acre fire near the small communities of Norwood and Redvale.

Residents from the Kingman area in northwest Arizona who fled a 420-acre wildfire were able to return home Tuesday.

The National Interagency Fire Center reported wildfires have charred 3.3 million acres so far this year -- more than double the 10-year average.

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