December 19, 2014
Crews in air tankers and helicopters have stopped the run of a massive wildfire in Northern California just miles from the tiny mountain town of Mineral.
The airborne firefighters repeatedly doused the spearhead of the Ponderosa Fire with water and flame retardant, as it crept up a deep canyon threatening the town of about 190 homes and the Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Fire officials say that for the first time in four days, they did not see any significant growth and the latest fire map shows the blaze more than two-thirds contained. Sixty-four homes and 20 other buildings have been destroyed, since lightning ignited the Ponderosa Fire Saturday. The fire still threatens 900 other homes scattered through the rugged countryside.
Elsewhere in California, firefighters are bracing for gusty winds this weekend as they battle a large blaze in Plumas National Forest, about 120 miles north of Sacramento. It has burned 99 square miles since it started last month and also threatens about 900 homes.
In Washington state, crews have nearly contained a two-week-old wildfire that has destroyed 61 homes and caused more than $8 million in property damage about 75 miles east of Seattle.
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