SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. (AP) - Officials battling a huge
wildfire that started more than a month ago and had threatened some
of the world's largest and oldest trees said the blaze will be
fully contained on Thursday.
"The humidity is up and the wind directions have changed,"
McNally Fire spokeswoman Beth McClanahan said. "The firefighters
have been working really hard to get the fire under control."
Containment means a fire line will be established around the
fire, but it doesn't mean the fire, which had threatened several
groves of giant sequoias, will be completely extinguished.
Officials say snowfall, which generally comes late in November or
early December, will finally douse the almost 150,700-acre fire in
the Sequoia and Inyo National Forests.
"Last year we didn't get as much snow, that's why it's so
dry," McClanahan said. "But we got an early snow around Halloween
last year."
As of Wednesday, about 1,248 firefighters, 16 helicopters, and
33 fire engines were battling the blaze that started on July 21.
The fire has cost $44.7 million to fight.
A Bakersfield woman has been charged with lighting a campfire
without a permit on public land. Peri Dare Van Brunt, 45, pleaded
innocent on Friday.
She has been in a drug-treatment program after her father posted
a $35,000 bond earlier this month.
Van Brunt told authorities that she was smoking methamphetamine
the night before the July 21 fire, and she has a jail record for
drug convictions.
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(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press