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Scotty’s Castle closed indefinitely after wildland fire

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Updated: 5/22/2013 7:15 pm
DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP & KSNV) — Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley National Park is closed indefinitely after fire broke out near there Tuesday afternoon.

The fire erupted Monday and the visitor center has been closed, tours have been canceled, and power and phone service is out.

Park spokeswoman Cheryl Chipman says the structure wasn't threatened because winds blew the flames away.

Forty-five firefighters are doing mop-up on the 26-acre blaze in Grapevine Canyon and full control is expected in a day or two.

As of Wednesday morning, about 26 acres of heavy brush had burned north of the Castle grounds.

Firefighters from the region were called in to fight the blaze, which at times was about 70 feet high.

Scotty’s Castle is closed indefinitely until water and power are restored to the area. Bonnie Clair Road is closed between the junction of Big Pine Road and three miles east of the Castle. The remainder of the park remains open to visitors.

There is no damage to the Castle itself. A small area of an outbuilding was sprayed with water after winds blew embers onto the structure.

Scotty's Castle is a sprawling but unfinished Spanish-style mansion built in the early 20th century in an oasis in the far northern end of what is now the national park. It got its name from Walter Scott, a local desert character who was a friend of the original builder.

Engine crews from the Bureau of Land Management in Ridgecrest, Calif., and Pahrump, Nev., and a hand crew from the Inyo National Forest in Bishop, Calif., responded Tuesday evening.
Approximately 45 personnel are assigned to the fire.

The fire is approximately 50 percent contained. Firefighters hope full containment will occur within the next one or two days.

The source of the fire has not yet been determined.

-- From news release
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