Crews say fire picking up in afternoon winds |

Crews say fire picking up in afternoon winds

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada AppealJon Jon Aragon hoses off the roof of his Pyrite Drive home Monday while flames, obscured by thick, gray smoke, approached the Mound House neighborhood. Hundreds of homes are threatened in the 5,000-acre blaze.

Full containment of the Linehan fire, which sparked Monday afternoon and has threatened hundreds of homes, is not expected for another four to five days, a Bureau of Land Management official said earlier this afternoon.

But that’s all dependent on the weather. Down drafts from a thunderstorm Monday evening directed the flames toward northeast Carson City. Winds have kicked up and reports from the scene say the fire is growing out of control again. Flames are spreading to the north.

By 4 p.m. the fire had made a turn for the worse, said Paul Wilson, manager of the gypsum mine off Linehan Road.

“About half an hour ago the winds came up and started whipping the fire back up again at the very end of Linehan Road,” he said, calling from his cell phone near the entrance of the mine.

“What created the dramatic fire behavior was the powerful down drafts in the thunder storm,” said BLM incident commander Greg Marfil.

The winds would’ve pushed heavy air tankers to the ground, which is why they weren’t used early on to fight the blaze, he said.

Fire fighting efforts on the 5,000-acre blaze are complicated by the steep terrain and low valleys combined with wind conditions.

The Nevada Army National Guard Chinook helicopter continues to fight the Linehan blaze, which has burned in Carson City, Lyon and Storey counties.

“The areas most at risk are structures along Linehan Road, though we have a lot of resources there,” he said. “Homes on north Goni Road are also at risk.” Some 200 homes and other buildings are threatened.

Marfil said residents were asked to stay out of homes there because wild fires could still spark. In case that happens, the road must also be kept clear of traffic for engines. There are several hot spots by Linehan Road. Fifteen engines are stationed in that area.

“We’re hoping people can get back in their homes tomorrow,” Marfil said.

The worst case scenario for the 300 firefighters working on the blaze would be for the wind to pick up. The fire has reached to just below McClellan Peak.

“Help us help you,” Marfil said. “We need defensible space. We’re not going to kill people to save a house. Every firefighter deserves to go home at the end of the day.”

See video and photo slideshow of the fire:

The Balls Canyon fire is experiencing significant fire behavior due to high temperatures, erratic winds and low relative humidity.

The 500-acre fire is five miles west of Bordertown, south of Haskell Peak, in Balls Canyon on private land, approximately one mile east of the boundary of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

Responding units include: five engines, three single-engine air tankers, one helicopter, oen air attack, two bull dozers and four handcrews.

About 251 fire personnel are assigned to the incident. Additional resources have been ordered.

Six residences within one-quarter mile are threatened. No evacuations have been ordered at this time.

Fire is burning in manzanita and ponderosa/jeffery pine and understory litter and is very visible from the surrounding area.

Fire crews assigned to the Linehan fire: Central Lyon County, Storey, Carson City, BLM, Nevada Division of Forestry, Reno Fire, Tahoe/Douglas County, South Lake Tahoe, Donner, Alpine, Truckee, El Dorado and East Fork. Equipment being used: five water tenders, four brush engines, nine type three and one engines and four dozers.

Pine Nut range (east of the Carson Valley) is receiving lightening as of 2 p.m. today.

A RED-FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM TO 10 PM TODAY FOR thunderstorms with strong outflows and isolated dry lightning for northeast California and northwest Nevada.

The Ollinghouse fires are burning behind Tracy by the Gooseberry Mine, west of Fernley, to the east of Reno in northern Storey County.

The fire is a complex of three fires: Ollinghouse II has charred 250 acres, with no containment estimated at this time. One crew is currently building line around the fire; the Ollinghouse III has scorched 500 acres and is contained at this time; crews have been dispatched to the Ollinghouse VI a new start near Fernley.

Check back here through the day for updates.