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California And Nevada Wildfire Updates: Soberanes Fire, Virginia Mountain Complex Fire

Terry Chea / AP

Novato Fire District firefighter Kyle Marshall sprays a spot while fighting fires in Big Sur, Calif., Friday, July 29, 2016.

Terry Chea / AP

(AP) - A deadly wildfire that continues to spread near California's scenic Big Sur was started by an illegal camp fire, a fire official said Tuesday.

Fire information officer Deborah McClain said investigators determined the blaze started July 22 in a day camping area of Garapata Park where campfires are prohibited.

Officials are still trying to determine who started the fire and are asking for information from campers who were in the area before the massive blaze charred 45,800 acres and destroyed 57 homes.

A bulldozer operator working the fire lines was killed last week in a rollover accident in steep, forested ridges.

More than 5,400 firefighters from across California are fighting the blaze that is threatening 2,000 structures. It was 25 percent contained Tuesday.

Tule Fire _080316P

@plpt / Twitter


Meanwhile, firefighters in Nevada are bracing for dry, hot winds and the possibility of erratic flames in a series of wildfires that they now say have charred 53,925 acres of rangeland in northwest Nevada.

Incident commanders predict humidity in the single-digits Tuesday in the Virginia Mountains west of Pyramid Lake, with wind gusts up to 45 miles an hour.

Containment of the fires was estimated at 41 percent, with about 800 firefighters in the effort.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe town of Sutcliffe is no longer threatened, but residents in some rural areas have been told to prepare to evacuate quickly if necessary.

The lake is closed.

Another 300 firefighters are battling a 5,120-acre wildfire in the scenic Poodle Mountain Wilderness Study Area, about 50 miles farther north.

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