Calif. Wildfire Contained

LOS ANGELES--California firefighters, aided by cooler weather, have contained a wildfire that has been burning for a week and has consumed nearly 63,000 acres, officials said yesterday.

The Willow fire was "100 percent contained," and some of the 2,700 firefighters who have been battling the worst blaze in the popular resort area of the San Bernardino National Forest were leaving, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry said.

The fire forced hundreds of people to be evacuated from their homes during the week, but they were allowed to return on Friday.

Another fire in the Angeles National Forest on the outskirts of Los Angeles has consumed 7,100 acres and was 72 percent contained, authorities said.

Encephalitis Kills N.Y. Man

NEW YORK--An outbreak of St. Louis encephalitis, a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes, has been blamed for at least one death here and could have been responsible for several illnesses over the past two weeks.

It is believed to be the first time the infection, usually found in the South, has spread to New York. Workers have started spraying affected areas of the borough of Queens to prevent further outbreaks.

The viral infection is transmitted by a species of mosquito, and most people recover from it. But it can be fatal to those with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly, authorities said.

Besides the confirmed encephalitis death of an 80-year-old man on Tuesday, officials believe the infection may also have been responsible for the death of an 87-year-old woman on Wednesday, a city health official said.

N.J. Gasoline Data Doctored

NEWARK--Supervisors at a central New Jersey testing laboratory admitted Friday that they doctored data for a Japanese fuel blender so millions of gallons of gasoline designed to reduce air pollution would appear to meet federal standards.

As a result, substandard reformulated gasoline was sold for 2 1/2 years to motorists in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, according to the three men, who pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court.

The three men, supervisors at Caleb Brett's lab in Linden, said they falsified the data on behalf of Itochu Corp., a Japanese company that shipped gasoline to Linden for distribution to retailers. The gasoline could not be unloaded unless it met specifications.

Ronald J. Domnik and Julius Balogh face five years in prison for conspiracy, and Nicholas Lehman three years for not telling authorities about the conspiracy. Each could be fined $250,000.

A lawyer for Itochu, Lanny Breuer, refused to discuss Itochu's alleged role but said company officials will cooperate with the Justice Department.

There is no estimate of how much additional pollution was caused by the substandard gasoline, the EPA said.