July 8, 2007

Wildfires Burn in California, Nevada

Wildfires erupted throughout the western United States as temperatures spiked and lightning struck, it was reported Sunday.

In northern Nevada, lightning sparked nearly a dozen fires, burning about 55 square miles as temperatures hovered near 100 degrees Saturday, reported KTVN TV in Reno, Nev.

Elko County reported the two biggest fires, with one burning 36 square miles, or 23,000 acres, along the Idaho border, said federal land management officials. A second fire closed a stretch of Interstate 80 near Carlin, charring 11 square miles, or about 7,000 acres.

In California, more than 400 firefighters battled three brush fires sparked by lightning in Inyo National Forest.

By late Saturday, fire had destroyed 17,000 acres of the 2-million-acre park and closed a stretch of Highway 395 along the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains.

In southern California, fire burned in the Los Padres National Forest, spreading quickly through dry brush in Santa Barbara County, authorities said.