COLEVILLE - The last of four fires burning near Coleville is expected to be contained by 6 tonight, officials said Wednesday.
Investigators say the Vittori Fire broke out Monday afternoon when an ember escaped from a campfire started by three boys and a girl, ages 10 to 14. The blaze quickly spread to 900 acres, near where some 470 firefighters were battling the 2,100-acre Dana Fire about 50 miles south of Carson City.
The Dana Fire, which began Friday from a lightning strike, was fully contained Tuesday, and crews were pulled off it to attack the Vittori fire. Two smaller blazes that began the same day were fully contained by Saturday, said Murray Shoemaker, spokesman for the fire crews.
Mono County Assistant Sheriff Cole Hampton said it isn't clear if the youths will be charged.
On Wednesday afternoon, lightning sparked two small wildland fires in the mountains east and southeast of Carson City.
The Brian Fire, which involved a tenth of an acre, was four miles east of Hot Springs Mountain in Douglas County. The Illinois Fire, at four acres, was eight miles east of Prison Hill near the Carson City and Lyon County border. Both started about 3:30 p.m., said Franklin Pemberton, fire information officer for the Sierra Front.
"It's that time of year. You're going to see tons of lightning strikes and tons of single tree fires, and each one of those has the potential to start a big wildland fire," said Pemberton. "We encourage the public to report anything they see."
Also on Wednesday, lightning touched off a series of wildfires across hundreds of acres on the edge of Reno, sending up large plumes of smoke just west of the city, but posing no immediate threat to homes.
At least 650 acres of sagebrush and scrub pines had burned in the biggest fire Wednesday afternoon at the base of Peavine Peak, north of Boomtown hotel-casino on Interstate 80, U.S. Forest Service officials said.
The fire at one point burned to within about 1,000 feet of homes in Verdi, just west of Reno, and authorities urged people to stay away from the area so they didn't hamper fire crews. No evacuations were ordered.