MINDEN - A fire in Pleasant Valley late Sunday night was controlled early Monday morning, but fire officials are cautious about calling it contained.
"They knocked it down real well, but containment won't be announced just yet," Jonathan Jones, intelligence dispatcher with the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center, said Monday afternoon.
The fire started in sagebrush and grass behind the Pleasant Valley School about 9 p.m. Crews from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Reno Fire Department and Washoe Valley Volunteers responded. One helicopter, five hand crews, one engine, one water tender, one bulldozer and 106 personnel quickly gained control, Jones said. About 30 acres of U.S. Forest Service land burned. No homes were threatened.
Jones said the fire is likely human caused.
"From what I can see, it doesn't look like there was any lightning involved with this. If it was human caused it becomes an arson investigation, but that doesn't mean it's malice," he said.
The U.S. Forest Service is in charge of the investigation.
According to the National Weather Service a weakening and stationary weather system off the West Coast and a building high-pressure system in the Rockies puts Western Nevada and the Sierra in a dry southwest flow pattern. Gradual warming and drying are expected through Friday. The windiest day will be today with winds diminishing by Wednesday.
"The fact that it's dry means the fuels will burn much more easily, and the wind adds that extra component of oxygen to the fuel. It's extremely hazardous messing around with any type of fire right now. A simple spark can blow quite some distance and start a fire," Jones said.
Things you can do today:
• Clean roof surfaces and gutters of pine needs, leaves, branches, etc., regularly to avoid accumulation of flammable materials.
• Remove portions of any tree extending within 10 feet of the flue opening of any stove or chimney.
• Maintain a screen constructed of non-flammable material over the flue opening of every chimney or stovepipe. Mesh openings of the screen should not exceed 1/2 inch.
• Landscape vegetation should be spaced so that fire cannot be carried to the structure or surrounding vegetation.
• Remove branches from trees to height of 15 feet.
• A fuel break should be maintained around all structures.
• Dispose of stove or fireplace ashes and charcoal briquettes only after soaking them in a metal pail of water.
• Store gasoline in an approved safety can away from occupied buildings.
• Propane tanks should be far enough away from buildings for valves to be shut off in case of fire. Keep area clear of flammable vegetation.
• All combustibles such as firewood, picnic tables, boats, etc. should be kept away from structures.
• Garden hose should be connected to outlet.
• Addressing should be indicated at all intersections and on structures.
• All roads and driveways should be at least 16 feet in width.
• Have fire tools handy such as: ladder long enough to reach the roof, shovel, rake and bucket for water.
• Each home should have at least two entrance and exit routes.