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Fire Threatening Hundreds of Homes Near Chukchansi Casino

26 July 2005

Las Vegas Sun

MADERA, Calif. -- A grass fire threatened hundreds of homes in rural Madera County on Monday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The fire is small -- about 200 acres, or less that one-third of a square mile.

It was 30 percent contained Monday evening, but was being pushed by wind, which made it move faster than firefighters could contain it, forestry officials said.

There were 200 to 300 homes it the wildfire's path, officials said. The residents were being asked to evacuate. Some went to the homes of friends and relatives, while others headed to the nearby Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino.

A theater at the casino was being prepared to house any evacuees. The resort was offering them food as well, said spokesman Kent Buyers.

The fire was not threatening the casino, because the wind was pushing it in the opposite direction, fire officials said.

Fire officials estimated the blaze started at around noon on Monday, but are still investigating the cause.

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