Firefighters working to contain Preacher blaze east of Gardnerville

With flames from the 700-acre Preacher fire less than a mile from their homes, Pine Nut residents were advised to leave their homes.

While no structures were in immediate danger, firefighters were struggling to get ahead of the blaze in the rugged terrain east of Gardnerville.

Evacuations also had the added benefit of clearing the region's narrow dirt roads so that fire crews had room to work.

Douglas County sheriff's Sgt. Jim Halsey said the four hand crews worked with a bulldozer to cut fire breaks, and planned to set backfires to stop the blaze at Pine Nut 2 Road. He estimated that 30-35 homes could be threatened by the fire should it jump the line.

A Red Cross evacuation shelter was established at Carson Valley Middle School, but without anyone seeking shelter, was locked. Should anyone need the shelter, Halsey said they can call dispatch at 782-5126 and the Red Cross will open it up within 20 minutes. The same number may be used should evacuees need help with their livestock.

Fire tankers and helicopters grounded by darkness are expected to resume flights today.

The fire is burning in sage, grass, pinon and juniper on Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs allotment territory, according to Sierra Front Fire Information Officer Elayn Briggs. As of Friday night, there was no estimate when the fire will be contained or brought under control.

East Fork Fire District engines are protecting structures as the hand crews and bulldozer work improving fire lines. In all 180 people are fighting the fire.

A lightning storm set the Preacher fire and a half-dozen others around the Sierra Front on Friday afternoon.

The Ray May 2 fire burned 40 acres earlier this afternoon, and the Buffalo Canyon fire burned a half acre in Topaz Ranch Estates. Both of those fires posed an immediate threat to homes with the Ray May fire starting about 200 yards from homes in the Pine View Estates neighborhood.

The 3-acre Bald fire is burning northeast of Holbrook Junction, the quarter-acre Ranch fire is burning near Rosachi Ranch in the Sweetwater Mountains, and there's a 20-acre fire burning near Pyramid Lake.


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