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Fog Helps Firefighters Contain San Luis Obispo Blaze

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A shroud of fog enveloped a nearby 76-square-mile burn area and helped firefighters declare the fire 100% contained, or surrounded, Friday morning.

Full control of the 48,351-acre blaze was expected at dawn Sunday.

The arson fire, which started Sunday, has destroyed 37 homes, 31 outbuildings and 35 vehicles. Damage was estimated at more than $10 million and the firefighting cost was expected to top $5 million, said Cindy Wesney, a California Department of Forestry spokeswoman.

About 2,000 firefighters remained on the lines Friday. The fire was deliberately set in the Devils Gap area off California 41. Gov. Pete Wilson announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the arsonist, Wesney said. There have been no arrests.

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Meanwhile, near Loyalton on the California-Nevada border north of Lake Tahoe, a rural subdivision escaped devastation for a second time when a fire that had been turned away less than 24 hours before turned around and roared back.

“It did exactly what we feared most,” resident Terri Kludt said. “It was terrifying all day yesterday. . . . But, now, we were in it today.”

Residents were urged to evacuate, but an estimated 1,100 firefighters aided by air tankers, helicopters and bulldozers prevented the Cottonwood fire from engulfing the 150-home Sierra Brooks subdivision.


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