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Fires Scorch 200,000 Acres in Nev.

August 5, 1999

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ Reinforcements were being sent from around the West today to help fight dozens of lightning-sparked fires that have burned more than 300 square miles of northern Nevada range land.

The fires had charred an estimated 200,000 acres by early today, threatening ranches and forcing closures along Interstate 80. Structures were threatened in at least of seven of the more than 30 fires.

Firefighters were forced to let some fires go unattended while they protected inhabited areas. No injuries were reported and only one structure _ a railroad storage shed west of Winnemucca _ had been destroyed.

More storms were expected today and fire officials feared the return of lightning, blamed for Wednesday’s fires.

As much as 100,000 acres had burned near I-80 west of Winnemucca. Another 32,000 acres was charred north of Battle Mountain, said John Noneman, a Bureau of Land Management spokesman.

One fire was burning toward the town of Unionville, 125 miles northeast of Reno, Noneman said. The blaze ``is a ways away, but there are some ranches in the valley there.″

Near Reno, a fire northeast of Sparks quickly grew from 500 acres Wednesday afternoon to about 3,000 acres and was still burning out of control by nightfall, sending a giant plume of smoke in the sky east of Reno.

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