Weary firefighters, slowly gaining the upper hand over th giant Marble Cone fire near Big Sur, yesterday fought new blazes that flared up in dusty, dry forests in other parts of drought-plagued California.

The biggest problem was still the 130,500-acre Marble Cone fire - believed to be the third-largest forest fire in the history of California.

The devastating blaze was burning toward a last-ditch control line gouged out by bulldozers within six miles of Carmel Valley residents of a plan to evacuate them if the fire began to pose a danger to homes. But the California Department of Forestry said there was no immediate threat and the spread of the blaze had allowed in the previous 24 hours.

Officials said about 105 miles of secure fire lines contained 50 per cent of the fire and some 5,700 firemen were on the scene.

Two new fires in California's far north near the Klamath River consumed more than 12,000 acres and flared across rugged ridges despite efforts to restrain them. Two other new fires burned in the Sierra Nevada range.

Meanwhile, the Boise Interagency Fire Center in Idaho, a federal coordinating center, reported that rain and cooler temperatures had eased the fire situation in Alaska, but 35 fires were still burning in wilderness there, including two blazes that have blackened nearly 600,000 acres between [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]

The federal raiding party, made up of U.S. Customs agents, arrested only one person, 41-year-old Pedro Gil, a member of the group that invaded Cuba in 1961. He was charged with violating federal arms export control laws. Authorities said other arrests may be made as the investigation progresses.