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Calif. fire nearly contained after fast growth

/ Source: The Associated Press

A lightning-sparked wildfire in the Inyo National Forest near Bishop was 60 percent contained Tuesday after burning through more than 3,200 acres.

The fire — by far the largest of 26 started by lightning in the forest over the weekend — thrived in hundred-degree heat Sunday after it started on Saturday afternoon, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Louth.

The town of Aspendell — a collection of vacation homes with about 150 people when all are occupied — was evacuated, along with nine campgrounds in the Inyo National Forest.

Louth said the blaze was on a ridge above the homes and no structures were in immediate danger of burning.

About 200 firefighters with help from five air tankers, two helicopters and a spotter plane fought the fire that burned in difficult-to-reach terrain amid heavy vegetation, Louth said.

The fire was about 10 miles west of Bishop, a central California city of about 3,500, but Louth says the blaze was burning northward toward less populated areas.

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