Fire crews redeploy to tackle expanding blaze

RENO, Nev. - A fire that has been allowed to burn largely untended in a remote area of the Clan Alpine Mountains since the first of the month is finally getting some attention after exploding in size.

As other wildland fires throughout Nevada were dying down, more than 140 firefighters were sent to the long-neglected Twin Peaks fire 50 miles east of Fallon, which made a 5,000-plus acre run Thursday to grow to about 20,000 acres.

Incident Commander Mike Theisen said firefighters were concentrating their efforts on protecting structures, cattle and resources in Cherry Valley.

''Direct containment or control of the fire is currently not a safe or realistic option,'' he said. The incident command team and one of four hand crews on the fire lines have a mandatory rest coming Monday.

Nevada's largest fire, the 39,705-acre O'Neil complex 25 miles southeast of Jackpot, was 75 percent contained with about 450 people on the lines. Pack trains of horses were hauling water to crews in remote areas in the Jarbidge Wilderness where motorized vehicles are forbidden.

The Rabbit fire 43 miles southeast of Elko was thought to have been contained Saturday, but revived Thursday to blacken 6,000 acres. It's 10 percent contained.

Another holdover blaze, the Cherry fire, has been burning 30 miles northwest of Ely for three weeks. It's holding at 7,500 acres and is 75 percent contained with just one person keeping an eye on it.

There was nobody at the Parsnip fire 30 miles northeast of Caliente on Wednesday, but 125 people and a helicopter moved in Thursday. It was still uncontained at 2,000 acres.

The Phillips Ranch fire 50 miles southeast of Ely held at 1,300 acres and 25 percent containment with seven people on the scene. It's only being monitored because of the extremely rugged terrain and a lack of resources to fight it.

One new fire started Thursday by lightning is burning 14 miles east of Jackpot. The Chokecherry fire has covered 5,000 acres.

The two fires closest to major metropolitan areas were in mop-up Friday. The Right Hand blaze 25 miles northeast of Reno was stopped at 300 acres and the Trout fire 45 miles west of Las Vegas burned 878 acres.

This year's fire season is being called the worst in the West in 50 years. So far in Nevada, 819 fires have burned 483,071 acres - slightly more than 10 percent of the national total.

On the Net:

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