Fire alerts continue
Afternoon lightning sparked at least 14 fires from as far north as Honey Lake and as far south as Minden.
East Fork Fire District Deputy Chief Steve Eisele said the a fire on the east side of Hot Springs Mountain, north of Johnson Lane, grew to six acres in 35 mph winds before handcrews and aircraft could get it under control.
Four engines from Carson, Douglas County and the Bureau of Land Management responded along with a single-engine air tanker. No homes were threatened in the fire that began at 3:42 p.m.
Just after 4 p.m. lightning sparked a fire north of Reno, approximately three miles northwest of Bordertown. The balls fire, at 900 acres, closed Highway 395 from the Nevada state line to the junction of California State Route 70 in Lassen County.
To the south in California, a 600-acre fire between Mono and June lakes prompted the closure of a 9-mile stretch of Highway 395.
Weather in the form of searing temperatures in the triple digits and a threat of renewed thunderstorms was becoming as much of a bane to hundreds of firefighters on Tuesday as the lightning-sparked fires they were battling across Northern Nevada.
In western Nevada, the 14,000-acre Adrian fire 10 miles south of Silver Springs was 50 percent contained. Full containment of the 28-square-mile fire was expected by Thursday evening.
The state’s largest blaze – the Highway 93 Complex near Jackpot and the Idaho line – grew to 72,800 acres and continued to expand beyond its 114 square miles, although it was about 45 percent contained, according to Elko Interagency Dispatch Center Manager Bill Roach.
Suppression efforts have been hampered by limited access and terrain that will not permit dozer line construction or direct attack by engines, he said.
Thirty cows either have been killed by the fire or have been put down because of injuries.
While crews gained some ground on the fire, they also were watching the skies.
“The weather forecast for rest of the week does not look promising,” Roach said. “If the predicted dry lightning and scattered thunderstorms arrive, fire conditions will be extreme once again.”
The state’s other major fire, the 58,000-acre Tungsten blaze three miles north of Imlay continued to threaten outbuildings, although crews had cut a line around half of its 90 square miles.
The 22,650-acre Thomas fire that burned into the back yards of a residential area of Winnemucca, about 170 miles east of Reno, but was stopped short of the houses was 75 percent contained. An electrical substation and a handful of outbuildings were destroyed.
Calmer winds aided crews, according to fire spokesman Pete Jankowski, although temperatures peaked at 102 degrees on Tuesday.
“We’ve made a lot of progress. The weather’s really cooperating,” he said.
Since Friday afternoon, about two dozen lightning-caused wildfires had blackened some 172,000 acres – more than 270 square miles – of rangeland across Northern Nevada.