2005 fire season is here | NevadaAppeal.com

2005 fire season is here

Cory McConnell
Appeal Staff Writer

Brad Horn/Nevada Appeal Nevada Department of Forestry Hot Shot crew members carry chain saws and shovels among other gear up a hill just south of Virginia City to fight the Truck fire on Thursday. Below, an airtanker fights the Truck fire with retardant. Approximately 85 acres of grass and brush burned in the wind-driven fire, the first of the 2005 fire season for Northern Nevada.

Fire season began in earnest for Northern Nevada on Thursday with a fast-moving blaze that torched 85 acres of grass and light brush less than two miles southeast of Virginia City.

Flames from what would be dubbed the Truck fire for its location yards off Highway 341, a truck route, were spotted at about 1:30 p.m., said Lyon County Sheriff’s Capt. Jeff Page.

When fire crews from Storey and Central Lyon County arrived about six minutes later, Page said the flames, driven by wind gusts that reached 38 mph in Carson City and up to 80 mph at Mount Rose, were spreading low and fast over the uneven terrain.

By 3:30 p.m., the 127 firefighters battling the fire had it 80 percent contained and by 5 p.m., it was 100 contained.

It would have been worse, Page said, if it happened a few weeks deeper into summer, when the grass and shrubs will be dry and combustible.

“They’re dry at the top, but we still have a lot of green in them,” Page said.

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No homes or buildings were threatened.

A nearby power line that feeds Virginia City electricity provided the biggest concern. With the direction of the winds, however, Page said the line didn’t seem to be in danger, although Sierra Pacific Power Co. workers were on scene just in case.

Highway 341, between Silver City and Virginia City, closed after the fire was first reported, was reopened at about 6:30 p.m.

Page said forces were stretched a little thin during the fire, with crews from Lyon County simultaneously combating a structure fire in Silver Springs. Still, two air tankers, one helicopter, four hand crews and personnel from Storey County, Lyon County, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Division of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service responded.

The fire is believed to be human caused and is under investigation.

Throughout this year’s wet winter and spring, fire officials have warned that this summer promises to be a dangerous time in Nevada.

“As much water as we’ve had, the grass is thick – the fuel is thick,” Page said. “We’re going to have one helluva fire season.”

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at cmcconnell@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

Truck fire

85 acres

Time line

2:30 p.m. Thursday

3:30 p.m. 80 percent contained

5:00 p.m. fully contained

7 p.m. crews doing mop up

Location

2 miles southeast of Virginia City, Highway 341

Lyon/Storey county line

Fuel

grass and light brush

Resources

1 air tanker, 1 helicopter, 5 hand crews, 4 engines, 2 water tenders

Agencies

127 firefighters from Storey County, Central Lyon County Fire Protection District, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Division of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service responded.

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