Fire season began in earnest for Northern Nevada on Thursday with a fast-moving blaze that torched 85 acres of grass and light brush less than two miles southeast of Virginia City.
Flames from what would be dubbed the Truck fire for its location yards off Highway 341, a truck route, were spotted at about 1:30 p.m., said Lyon County Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Page.
When fire crews from Storey and Central Lyon County arrived about six minutes later, Page said the flames, driven by wind gusts that reached 38 mph in Carson City and up to 80 mph at Mount Rose, were spreading low and fast over the uneven terrain.
By 3:30 p.m., the 127 firefighters battling the fire had it 80 percent contained and by 5 p.m., it was 100 contained.
It would have been worse, Page said, if it happened a few weeks deeper into summer, when the grass and shrubs will be dry and combustible.
"They're dry at the top, but we still have a lot of green in them," Page said.
No homes or buildings were threatened.
A nearby power line that feeds Virginia City electricity provided the biggest concern. With the direction of the winds, however, Page said the line didn't seem to be in danger, although Sierra Pacific Power Co. workers were on scene just in case.
Highway 341, between Silver City and Virginia City, closed after the fire was first reported, was reopened at about 6:30 p.m.
Page said forces were stretched a little thin during the fire, with crews from Lyon County simultaneously combating a structure fire in Silver Springs. Still, two air tankers, one helicopter, four hand crews and personnel from Storey County, Lyon County, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Division of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service responded.
The fire is believed to be human caused and is under investigation.
Throughout this year's wet winter and spring, fire officials have warned that this summer promises to be a dangerous time in Nevada.
"As much water as we've had, the grass is thick - the fuel is thick," Page said. "We're going to have one helluva fire season."
n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
2:30 p.m. Thursday
3:30 p.m. 80 percent contained
5:00 p.m. fully contained
7 p.m. crews doing mop up
2 miles southeast of Virginia City, Highway 341
Lyon/Storey county line
grass and light brush
1 air tanker, 1 helicopter, 5 hand crews, 4 engines, 2 water tenders
127 firefighters from Storey County, Central Lyon County Fire Protection District, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Division of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service responded.