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Fire Prompts Evacuation of Marine Housing Units

A new wildfire erupted Monday near Coleville in the eastern Sierra Nevada, blackening more than 900 acres of timber and brush and prompting the evacuation of a Marine Corps housing complex, officials said.

There were no reports of injuries. U.S. Highway 395 was closed to all but local traffic.

The blaze was burning near three other wildfires that were started by lightning last week. Two of those fires were largely under control Monday night, but the third was only 45% contained after burning more than 2,100 acres.

The 114-unit housing complex hosts the families of Marines affiliated with the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Pickel Meadows, about 21 miles northwest of the town of Bridgeport, officials said. The families were moved to a lodge near Topaz Lake on Monday night.

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By late Monday, the housing units appeared safe, but the fire was only 30% controlled. The cause was under investigation.

“It could be spotting from another fire,” said Franklin Pemberton, a fire information officer with the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center in Minden, Nev.

“It could be lightning.”

A major fire last burned through the area in the summer of 2002. An air tanker battling that 24,000-acre blaze, known as the Cannon Fire, crashed as it was dropping flame retardant, killing three firefighters on board.

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