Pedlar fire cleaned up; highway to Virginia City reopened
SILVER CITY — Fire crews spent Monday cleaning up the Pedlar Fire, which burned about 96 acres in the southwestern hills of Silver City on Sunday afternoon.
“A fire can sit in the brush for a couple of days, then reignite,” explained Mark Regan, a spokesman for the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center. “With these high winds and heat and it being so close to structures, we want 100 percent mop-up so we won’t have any problems.”
As of 9 a.m. Tuesday morning the fire was 100 percent contained.
The cause of the fire, which sparked about 2:30 p.m. Sunday off of Pedlar Road in Silver City, is under investigation. No structures were burned. State Route 342 to Virginia City was closed during the fire Sunday and opened about 2:30 p.m. Monday.
With winds blowing the fire in the direction of homes Sunday and temperatures soaring above 100 degrees, Regan said firefighters threw all their resources at the blaze.
“The crews were very aggressive,” he said. “It was a very aggressive attack.”
He credited initial responders from Lyon and Storey counties as well as the Bureau of Land Management for the swift response. They were joined by agencies across the region, including Carson City and Douglas County. More than 20 engines, along with multiple aircraft and bulldozers fought the fire.
“A lot of resources were able to get up there quickly through mutual-aid agreements,” Regan said.
He also acknowledged a break from Mother Nature.
“We had a little bit of luck,” he said. “The wind started messing around with us, then it all of the sudden slowed down for us.”
Working against them, he said, was the heat, along with the steep, rocky terrain and hillsides dotted with old mine shafts.
Two firefighters suffered heat-related injuries and were treated on the scene, he reported.
Regan said crews were dismayed Sunday to hear of the death of 19 Arizona firefighters in that state’s deadliest blaze.
“It’s tough,” he said. “We all took a moment of silence this morning. It does effect everyone on the line. It opens your eyes. We’re making sure everyone’s OK.”