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Firefighters Hope Storm Will Douse Forest Blaze

November 11, 2001|From Associated Press

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Ten days after the official end of the fire season was declared in Northern California, crews were battling a blaze that broke out Saturday along Interstate 80 east of here.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Nancy Picker said firefighters were counting on a storm to help put out the blaze, which had grown to 75 to 100 acres by late Saturday afternoon.

No homes were threatened, and all four lanes of the interstate remained open.

National Weather Service forecasters said storms would bring a chance of rain and snow to the Sierra through Tuesday.

"Thank goodness for the storms. The weather will play a big factor in helping us," Picker said. "It's not atypical to see fires like this in Southern California this time of year. But up here in the high country it is unusual. We had a very long fire season . . . and heavy fuels are still very dry."

The fire was burning up the mountain above the interstate's westbound lanes near Farad, about 20 miles east of Truckee.

It's about two miles east of the tiny Sierra community of Hirschdale, which was evacuated June 17 at the start of the 14,500-acre Martis fire.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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