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Sierra Town Fends Off Fire for Fourth Day

August 21, 1994| Associated Press

LOYALTON, Calif. — Bulldozers gouged massive defense lines while firefighters used picks and shovels Saturday to repel a 31,500-acre wildfire that has stalked this tiny lumber town for four days.

More than 2,000 firefighters--nearly twice Loyalton's population--were on the lines battling the Cottonwood fire that has preyed upon the community since Wednesday.

As on each previous day, firefighters and residents waited anxiously for the witching hour--when afternoon winds kick up, fueling the blaze and igniting spot fires dangerously close to homes.

As expected, the winds came, but firefighters were optimistic that a triple-wide bulldozer line doused with fire retardant would keep the inferno at bay.

Residents on the southwestern edge of town remained on a pre-alert evacuation status, meaning they were advised to be ready to leave at a moment's notice if necessary.

"I'm tired of it. Tired of the smoke, tired of leaving, tired of the whole fire," resident Mary Anderson said.

No structures have been destroyed and only minor injuries have been reported since the fire broke out at the Cottonwood Campground south of Sierraville. Officials said it was started by people, but the exact cause remains under investigation.

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