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Calmer winds help firefighter advance on wildfire in Northern California


WEAVERVILLE, California — Calmer weather helped firefighters advance on a lightning-sparked wildfire that has been burning in Northern California for four days, a fire official said Saturday.

The blaze in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest grew to 1,480 acres, with containment up from 5 percent on Saturday morning to 15 percent by sundown, fire spokesman Dean McAlister said.

"We saw minimum growth today," he said, adding that despite the hot, dry weather winds were less than 10 mph around the burn area.

About 866 firefighters, aided by water-dropping aircraft, were battling the fire.

About 100 people along a county road southeast of the fire had been told to evacuate but only a few had left their homes, McAlister said. Meanwhile, about 240 people in the town of Hyampom, were told to be ready to evacuate.

The lightning-sparked blaze broke out Tuesday in the forest about halfway between Eureka and Redding, which baked under triple-digit temperatures on Saturday. The mercury hit 109 in Redding, beating an old record of 107 degrees set in 1985, according to the National Weather Service.

A record-high temperature of 110 degrees at Red Bluff Municipal Airport broke the old record of 109 set in 1985.

The fire is the largest of 20 lightning-sparked blazes that have broken out in the area this week.

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