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Brush fire near Pyramid Lake burns 350 acres [Updated]

July 13, 2009 |  2:19 pm

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[Updated 8:35 p.m. The fire was reported 50% contained early Monday evening.]

[Updated 6:34 p.m.: By late in the afternoon, the fire had burned 400 acres, a U.S. Forest Services spokesman said. The blaze was about 25% contained and appeared to have stopped spreading, spokesman Shaun Rollman said.]

[Updated at 2:45 p.m.: The fire has spread to 350 acres and is threatening power, gas and oil lines, say officials with the U.S. Forest Service. No homes or structures are threatened, and no injuries have been reported.

More than 300 personnel, six air tankers, two helicopters and a lead plane are working the fire, said Dee Dechert, a spokeswoman for the Forest Service. Two northbound lanes of Interstate 5 are expected to remain closed for the next few hours for the safety of firefighters.]

A brush fire that has burned more than 100 acres near Pyramid Lake has forced the California Highway Patrol to close two northbound lanes of Interstate 5.

There was no immediate word on what caused the fire, which appeared to have started near the freeway.

The blaze was first reported about 12:15 p.m. south of Vista del Lago Road along the 5 Freeway, said Steve Zermeno, an inspector with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

When fire crews arrived, about three acres were burning, but the fire quickly spread to 20 acres and soon grew to more than 100 acres, he said.

The fire was burning northeast and away from the freeway, but authorities closed the lanes to allow emergency vehicles access to the blaze. Several helicopters and aircraft were on scene because the rough and hilly terrain is not easily accessible for fire engines, Zermeno said.

-- Victoria Kim

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Photo: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times