A wildfire burning in the Clan Alpine range east of Fallon has almost doubled in size within the last 24 hours, reports spokesman Dave Chevalier.
Chevalier told the LVN Monday morning the latest report shows the Draw Fire has burned 21,341 acres west and north of Cold Springs, which is the main staging area.
Firefighters are not facing good news today, however, as the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag warning from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. for high temperatures, low humidity and winds gusting up to 35-40 miles per hour. The NWS states the combination of gusty winds and low humidity can cause fire to grow rapidly in size and intensity before first responders can contain them. A lake advisory for gusty winds has also been issued for the same time.
Meteorologist Scott McGuire said the grass has dried out, which is adding to the rapid expansion of area fires.
“Nothing burns faster than grass,” he said.
Although U.S. Highway 50 was closed periodically over the weekend east of the fire because of heavy smoke, he said the highway is currently open.
Chevalier said 402 personnel are on the scene. He added six 20-person hand crews, seven engines, three helicopters and one water tender have been dispatched. Assets have come from the Bureau of Land Management, the Nevada Division of Forestry and contractors.
Chevalier said the BLM has not officially released the cause of the fire, but the National Weather Service reported thunderstorms and lightning swept across central Nevada Friday night, touching off a number of fires..
Trooper Tom Wood, spokesman for the Fallon-Fernley offices of the Nevada Highway Patrol, said the highway was closed between Cold Springs to Austin for most of Saturday and Sunday.
McGuire said the next round of thunderstorms should arrive in the area Wednesday afternoon and also on Sunday. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 103 to 104-degree range by the weekend. Fallon experienced triple-digit highs last weekend.