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Monday, 30 July, 2001, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Wyoming forest fire under control
Plane dumping chemicals
The blaze is believed to have been started by a campfire
A forest fire that threatened to destroy dozens of luxury homes in the Rocky Mountains has been largely brought under control.

More than 100 people have been evacuated amid warnings that their properties were in the path of the blaze in the Jackson Hole valley area of Wyoming.

Firefighters say they have contained most of the blaze, one week after it began.

But strong winds, high temperatures and dry weather - predicted to continue for the next few days - are not helping.

The 1,300 residents of nearby Wilson have been told to brace themselves, as the fire crept to within three kilometres (1.8 miles) of their town, about eight kilometres west of Jackson.

Incident commander Joe Carvelho told Associated Press news agency: "Mother Nature has thrown all she could possibly throw at us now and we're holding our own," but he added, "We're not out of the woods."

The wildfire, which officials said began with an abandoned campfire, is now about 4,470 acres large, down from some 4,800 acres at one point.

Some 1,000 firefighters, 12 helicopters, 10 air tankers and six other planes have been dedicated to fighting the fire, which is threatening several multi-million-dollar homes.

US Vice-President Dick Cheney is among those with a house in the area.

Wooden roofs

Firefighters sprayed fire retardant on homes as the blaze drew close to about 100 dwellings.

So far, none have been caught up in the fire.

In Crescent H, an area about eight kilometres southwest of Jackson, the fire came within 100 metres of $5 million homes.

Nearly all the homes have flammable, wooden-shingle roofs and can be reached only by narrow roads, limiting the number of fire engines able to reach them.

Clouds of smoke towered over Jackson Hole, a 40-mile-long valley surrounded by three mountain ranges and gateway to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.

But Jackson itself has not been affected and local officials have issued a news release to "strongly encourage" tourists not to change their plans.

See also:

08 Aug 00 | Sci/Tech
Flourishing forests need fires
11 Jul 00 | Europe
Fighting forest fires
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