GARDNERVILLE — The cost to fight the 25,733-acre Bison Fire is up to $2.9 million, according to a federal situation report issued Tuesday.
The fire burned actively on the northeast and southeast sides until about 3 a.m. Tuesday, according to a 9 a.m. update issued by the Sierra Front. Despite growing another 4,000 acres since Monday’s report, fire crews managed to keep containment at 25 percent. Firefighters hope to have the fire contained by Sunday.
According to Geomac fire mapping, the fire burned down into Smith Valley last night, stopping at the base of the Pine Nuts south west of Artesia Lake. It also continued to burn in the Buckeye Creek watershed on the south end of Pine Nut Valley. The northern most flank of the fire burned another mile north along the east slope of the Pine Nuts on both sides of Sunrise Pass Road. The fire is now three miles south of the Douglas County line, and is four miles due east of Mineral Peak.
The fire, which more than doubled in size on Monday, also saw an increase in resources with 722 firefighters comprising 22 hand crews, 30 engines and five helicopters, in addition to nine air tankers.
Douglas County commissioners declared a state of emergency on Monday. About 200 firefighters have been stationed in Smith Valley to fight the fire on the Pine Nuts’ eastern slope.
One structure is reported lost in the fire. Officials said an old mining structure at the Slater Mine burned on Sunday.
The fire is crowning and spotting in heavy pinon pine and juniper as the wind pushes it north.
Firefighters may have the best weather they’re going to see for a while to suppress the fire today before a low pressure system is forecast to arrive on the West Coast bringing even windier conditions.
Tuesday’s forecast called for west winds 4-8 mph shifting to the southwest in the afternoon and increasing to 10-15 mph, with gusts of 25-30 mph, according to the National Weather Service fire report. Low humidity allowed the fire to burn northwesterly in the afternoon.