A second wildland fire broke out east of Fallon Wednesday afternoon near the same location as a June 2 fire near Fairview Peak.
The Bravo 17 Navy training range fire was first reported after 6 p.m. in an area south of Fairview Peak. Naval Air Station Fallon dispatched two helicopters to begin water bucket drops on the fire.
Shortly after 8 p.m. an observer took a photograph showing the fire spreading on the side of the mountain and bellowing out more smoke. As of the Thursday morning’s situation report from the Sierra Front Interagency Fire Dispatch, the fire consumed 9,000 acres.
NAS Fallon spokesman Zip Upham said the fire spread from the bombing range to the east side of Fairview and toward the earthquake fault line. Firefighters and some equipment battling the Draw Fire near Cold Springs were dispatched to assist with the Bravo 17 Fire.
“We sent two engines, a safety officer and line paramedic,” said Norm Rooker, deputy public information officer for the Great Basin Team 3 Type 2 Incident Management Team (IMT), which took over the Draw Fire Monday morning.
The Draw Fire, which eyewitnesses said was caused by lightning Friday night, has consumed 27,506 acres of cheat grass, sage and rabbit brush and pinion juniper trees. It is 70 percent contained.
Upham said since part of the fire is burning on the Navy side, hand crews and equipment would face limitations because of ordnance dropped during practice runs from the jets assigned at NAS Fallon. Upham said the area hasn’t been swept for ordnance, so some of the munitions may not have exploded.
Rooker said the engine crews are making a preliminary contingency line in case the fire should move east. In a fire like this, he said crews take a wait-and-see approach and would notify dispatch in case of a flare-up.
In addition to federal crews on the site, the Fallon/Churchill Volunteer Fire Department sent a water tender and command vehicle to the Fairview earthquake fault road.
Firefighters faced temperatures hovering near 100 degrees as well as low humidity in the single digits.
“Temperatures are forecast to be a degree or two hotter and continued westerly hot, gusty winds, light in the morning with gusts increasing in intensity in the afternoon with a chance of dry lightning thunderstorms later in the day,” the morning situation report stated.
Rooker said not only will the IMT continue to asssit the Bravo 17 Fire but also work to bring the Draw Fire to a successful conclusion.
“The fire is smoldering, and there is no heavy smoke,” Rooker said.
He added cloudy skies have laid the fire down, thus giving hand crews an opportunity to move closer to the affected areas.
The IMT report said the crews advanced to cut hand lines around the northwest flank Thursday to eventually tie into the bulldozer line and firing operations along the north and northeastern sides of the fire.
The Nevada Department of Transportation closed one lane of traffic on U.S. Highway 50 near the Cold Springs restaurant and housing complex to wash fire retardant from Saturday’s aerial drop next to the highway. Rooker said a SEAT (single engine air tanker) dropped a line of red retardant along the shoulder to prevent the fire from crossing US 50 toward any structures.
The IMT has increased the number of personnel to 572 that includes 16 20-person crews, 13 engines, four bulldozers, five helicopters and eight water tenders.