Fire strikes Brunswick Canyon; strong winds to further fan Western flames

Another fire struck Northern Nevada on Saturday.

A brush fire roared up the steep walls of Brunswick Canyon east of Carson City on Saturday, with about 90 acres of pinon pine and juniper consumed by 7:30 p.m.

Fire supervisors on the scene estimated the blaze would be contained by midnight Saturday.

An air retardant tanker, two helicopters and two brush engines were initially assigned to the fire about two miles east of Deer Run Road, according to Richard Brown, a spokesman for the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center.

The fire appeared to be on Bureau of Land Management-controlled federal land. Besides BLM fire crews and equipment, two brush engines and a battalion chief from the Carson City Fire Department were dispatched to assist in the suppression of the fire.

The fire, which was reported about 2:30 p.m., was "zero percent controlled" at 5:20 p.m., Brown said.

"We sent hand crews, two water tenders and a dozer on the way out there," Brown said. He said the firefighters were reaching Brunswick Canyon via Deer Run and Sedge roads.

By 7:30, two more bulldozers had arrived to help contain the fire, Brown said.

In Toston, Mont., firefighters raced to make as much progress as possible against a menacing wildfire Saturday before expected windy weather could whip the flames into another dash across the countryside.

The blaze near Toston had swept across 100,000 acres in three days.

Cool temperatures and light rain kept it quiet during the night, officials reported Saturday, but a cold front was expected to arrive during the night with strong wind and no moisture.

''The winds today are estimated at the top of the ridges to be 40 mph plus,'' said Graver Johnson, information officer for the fire near Toston, 60 miles southeast of Helena.

''Historically, we know those weather systems can undo everything that has been done. We have a heads-up today for all firefighters,'' said Jon Silvius, information officer at a fire near Hamilton, in extreme western Montana.

Some 600 firefighters, including 200 National Guard troops, battled the Toston fire Saturday.

Army officials announced Saturday that about 500 soldiers had been called up from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., to help fight wildfires in Montana, bumping the Army's numbers on the fire lines to more than 1,600. Montana Gov. Marc Racicot also announced that a Marine battalion from Camp Lejeune, N.C., would be joining the effort.

Twenty-seven major fires in Montana had burned more than half a million acres, including more than 242,000 acres in the Bitterroot Valley of southwestern Montana. They have destroyed 175 homes and other buildings since late July.

They were among 95 fires burning Saturday in Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. Those fire had blackened more than 1.1 million acres.

The Toston blaze started Tuesday as a spark in a wheat field, burning 20,000 acres by Thursday, then exploded Thursday night and swept across some 80,000 additional acres of rangeland and scattered timber.

After Montana, the next major fire center was Idaho, where the 25 large fires active Saturday had blackened 421,000 acres.

The Associated Press contributed to this story


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