Firefighters battle 6,000-acre Elko County wildfire

ELKO, Nev. - Firefighters were trying to get the upper hand on a 6,000-acre wild fire Monday without resorting to the use of bulldozers to build fire breaks across the historic California Trail.

Four air tankers and three helicopters were aiding crews that have been fighting the fire for two days in northeastern Elko County near the Utah border.

Gusty winds on the leading edge of a storm in the Sierra were fueling the spread of flames through the dry grass, sage, pinyon-juniper and mountain mahogany, said Roger Vorce, incident commander at the Elko Interagency Fire Dispatch.

The fire was about 20 percent contained early Monday, he said. An incident command post was set up near Trout Creek Ranch.

Fire officials hoped to avoid using bulldozers because of ''numerous cultural resources in the area, including the California Trail,'' dispatch officials said in a statement.

''Instead, a grader will be used to improve dirt roads in the area and use as fuel breaks.''

More than 200,000 pioneers traveled the 2,100-mile trail to California between 1840 and 1860.

The fire grew from 4,000 acres Sunday to 6,000 acres early Monday. Full containment was expected Tuesday night.

Fire information officer Barbara Cook said the fire is believed to have been caused by some burning embers at a hunters' camp.


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