Nevada wildland fires cost BLM $25 million so far this summer

ELKO - Nevada wildland fires have cost the Bureau of Land Management more than $25 million to fight so far this summer, a BLM official said.

Cindy Savoie of the BLM's Western Great Basin Coordination Center said her agency has spent $15.8 million on the blazes and must pay the Forest Service about $10 million for its assistance in battling the fires.

Savoie said the dollar amount likely will grow as not all costs have arrived at her office yet.

''The $15.8 million is for Nevada BLM only,'' she told the Elko Daily Free Press. ''We figure for just as an estimate to add another $10 million for the Forest Service to assist the BLM.''

So far in Nevada, more than 830 fires have blackened 598,021 acres. Nationally, more than 66,000 fires have destroyed 5 million acres.

''Nationally, this is the worst year they have ever had,'' Savoie said. ''More of the western states were burning at the same time.''

Nevada's biggest current fire, the 8,000-acre Cherry fire 30 miles northwest of Ely, remained 80 percent contained Sunday. The fire has been burning for more than a month.

Another holdover blaze, the 2,111-acre Parsnip fire 30 miles northeast of Caliente, was fully contained Saturday.

Still another holdover fire, the 2,600-acre Phillips Ranch fire 50 miles southeast of Ely, continued to burn Sunday with no estimated containment time.

The current fires are much smaller than blazes that charred Nevada earlier in the season.

Last year, wildland fires blackened more than 1.6 million acres across Nevada.

Two people have died this summer in Nevada in separate crashes of firefighting helicopters.

Phillip Conner, 29, of Las Vegas, died Aug. 3 while fighting the Charlie fire north of Wells, while Lester Shadrick, 53, of Lake Charles, La., was killed Aug. 13 while battling the Twin Peaks fire northeast of Fallon.


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