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Growth of Northern California wildfires slows, giving firefighters chance to gain ground

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HAPPY CAMP, California — The U.S. Forest Service says cloudy skies and lower temperatures have slowed the spread of two forest wildfires that are threatening as many as 250 homes in far Northern California.

The Forest Service reported Sunday that the fires had burned 98 square miles in the Klamath National Forest by Sunday. That was 8 square miles more than a day earlier, but the figure represented a significant reduction in the growth of the blazes that had picked up steam as humidity declined and winds increased late last week.

The two wildfires are the largest among 17 that were sparked by lightning in the forest on Aug. 11. They remained 15 percent contained.

The Forest Service said about 250 homes were under mandatory evacuation, and that 695 homes are threatened by the fire.

More than 2,100 firefighters and 19 helicopters are taking advantage of the better weather by laying hoses, constructing fire lines and clearing brush from around evacuated communities.

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