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Fire near Moapa destroys 10 homes, burns more than 100 acres

Updated Friday, July 2, 2010 | 11:38 a.m.

Approximate area of fire

A wildfire near Moapa destroyed more than 15 buildings, including 10 homes, but fire activity had decreased significantly Thursday night and no more structures were in immediate danger, Bureau of Land Management officials said.

"The goal today is to contain the perimeter and keep it from spreading," said Hillerie Patton, Moapa fire spokeswoman for the BLM. "It's expected to pick up again today."

Patton dramatically cut estimates of the size of the blaze to 100 acres. She blamed confusion during firefighting operations for the previous estimate of 680 acres, or about 1 square mile, and said officials expected to have a more exact figure after a global positioning survey Friday.

No serious injuries have been reported in the blazes that started Thursday, although a Nevada prison inmate suffered heat exhaustion Thursday while fighting the Moapa fire.

Patton said a spark from a wood chipper ignited the fire Thursday morning off state Route 168 about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The fire is near Warm Springs Road and State Route 168 in Moapa.

The area affected by the fire includes private property, Bureau of Land Management property, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge and land owned by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, BLM spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon said.

As of shortly after 9 p.m., all roads in the area had been reopened, and the American Red Cross was on hand to provide assistance to evacuees, officials said.

Crews from the BLM and Nevada Division of Forestry responded, including four aircraft, five engines and two hand crews, Canon said.

Cannon said about 80 firefighters with aerial tankers and a helicopter were deployed to attack the fire.

A 20-person hand crew and one engine were scheduled to remain on site overnight. But fire activity Friday was expected to be high. Officials said 10 engines, four air tankers, a helicopter and five hand crews would be assigned to the blaze on Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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