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Headway Made Against Fire Near Historic Nevada Area

July 24, 2006|From the Associated Press

VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. — Firefighters reported progress Sunday in their battle against a 1,976-acre wildfire near this historic mining town.

The lightning-caused blaze continued to pose an outside threat to the nearby Mark Twain community, fire information officer Mark Struble said.

Samuel Clemens assumed his pen name while working for a Virginia City newspaper in 1862.

"There is a potential threat to 200 residences and 50 outbuildings," Struble said.

The fire burned within two miles of Virginia City, Struble said, but it also posed no immediate threat to one of the West's richest and most famous mining towns of the 19th century.

The Six Mile 2 fire shut down Six Mile Canyon Road linking Virginia City and Mark Twain.

The blaze was 15% contained Sunday afternoon.

Mine shafts and abandoned mines were posing safety hazards for more than 500 firefighters, Struble said.

Crews were challenged by gusty winds and roadless terrain where the fire was burning brush as well as pinyon-juniper woodlands, he added.

Virginia City, now a major tourist attraction, was the scene of one of the world's greatest silver rushes.

Its Comstock Lode, a huge underground pocket of gold and silver discovered in 1859, has yielded 8 million ounces of gold and 200 million ounces of silver. Today that yield would be worth more than $8 billion.

The wealth it generated helped to finance the Union cause during the Civil War and to build San Francisco.

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