Someone's careless efforts to extinguish a campfire above the waterfalls in Kings Canyon erupted a year ago today. Firefighters saved hundreds of homes, and no lives were lost as the Waterfall fire raged for days.
As smoke choked the city, homes were reduced to smoldering rubble. In all, 18 homes fell to the flames, 10 in Kings Canyon and eight others in Timberline.
Residents in neighborhoods from South Carson's Indian Colony to the northernmost reaches of Carson City in Lakeview were evacuated as the fire spread, consuming 8,723 acres before it could be stopped.
An airtanker from Battle Mountain fought the blaze from the air as 1,900 firefighters grabbed shovels to attack the inferno from the ground.
They weren't always successful. Afternoon winds, years of drought and Kings Canyon combined at about 1 p.m. July 14, 2004, to act as a funnel for the fire. The ensuing firestorm sent fire crews, residents and the media fleeing for their lives out of the canyon. One firefighter was injured, and the Carson City and Storey County fire departments each lost a truck when the cul de sac at the top of Kings Canyon was overrun.
The bravery, the tenacity of those who never gave up the fight to save Carson City can be seen in the tattered rags of this flag that continued to fly in Timberline, even after the house was lost.