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7/12/2007

Lightning, winds hamper firefighting

Western USA

July 11, 2007

FRESNO, Calif - High winds and lightening created a one-two punch for firefighters battling Western wildfires, both whipping up old flames and sparking new ones.
A 35,000-acre wildfire, or almost 55 square miles, in the Inyo National Forest — California's largest — remained 80 percent contained for much of the day as crews worked to control the new spot fires, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Nancy Upham.
"We were hit with these thunderstorms, so there were a lot of winds in the area," Upham said. "It did not jump the containment lines at all, but clearly we were not able to extend them any further."
The storm system threatened to bring more lightning — and little rain — to the Inyo fire and other parts of the western Sierra through Thursday, said Weather Service meteorologist Will Pi.


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South Dakota, USA
Most Intense Black Hills Fire, Ever

A deadly wildland fire burning in western South Dakota that began as a single lightning strike grew to more than 9 square miles. Officials are calling it the most intense fire that's ever burned in the Black Hills. The Alabaugh Fire is located in extreme southwest South Dakota, about 5 miles southwest of Hot Springs. It exploded in size last weekend, fueled by dry land, and strong winds. The flames are burning over rough terrain, which makes controlling the fire difficult. A total of 268 people are currently working to contain the flames. It all began Saturday night as the fire started as just a few hundred acres of down and dead fuels from the forest floor, but soon the fire grew into what is now being called one of the most intense fires in South Dakota history, charring nearly 4,900 acres. The fire’s incident commander, Joe Lowe says, “This is a very dangerous fire. It burns with a vengeance.” Hot Springs resident, Joyce Farrell, says, “It’s very scary, but it’s very dry, and we knew that the potential was there and it's a catastrophe.” Photo Above: A fire smolders on Sunday, July 8, 2007, near Hot Springs, S.D. A state official said the blaze is the most intense wildfire ever recorded in the Black Hills. (AP Photo/Joe Kafka)

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