FALLON - As the Twin Peaks fire near Fallon moves into its third week, progress is slowly being made toward containment.
The newest statistics, released Tuesday, put the burn area at 39,210 acres. The immensity has made containment difficult despite extensive resources used since Aug. 1 when the fire was sparked by lightning, authorities said.
Between the weekend and Tuesday, 60 percent of the fire was believed to be surrounded, an increase of 10 percent over a three-day period. Twelve hand crews, 10 engines, three helicopters, one bulldozer and four water tenders were at work on Tuesday. In all, 381 firefighters were working the fire on Tuesday.
Disaster struck at the fire site Sunday afternoon when helicopter pilot Lester Lee Shadrick, 53, was killed when the water bucket below his Bell 412 helicopter reportedly caught a tree. Shadrick, a resident of Lake Charles, La., had been piloting for Era Aviation, Inc. since 1985.
Federal investigators were at the scene, looking for the official cause.
The Twin Peaks fire has remained west of the Clan Alpine Mountain Range in Churchill County. No date has been estimated for full containment.
Bureau of Land Management managers say three small communities remain in the danger zone. Five ranches, sage grouse habitat and a wild horse range could be damaged. Desert Bighorn grazing might also be effected when winter hits.
Like many fires raging across the West, resources have been shipped in from out of state. Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Navy, the Nevada Division of Forestry and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are all participating.
Cost is estimated at $895,000. No structures have been lost.