Update: Andrew Fire 75 percent contained
Appeal Staff Writer
– The Andrew fire burning in Pleasant Valley is 75 percent contained after a long night of work by bulldozers and handcrews.
The first members of a national Type-one incident management team arrived Thursday morning. They expect to assume control of the operation by Thursday evening, according to fire information officer Tom Crawford.
After more complete mapping, current fire managers have adjusted their acreage estimate to 2,693 acres. Full containment is expected by 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Andrews fire started Wednesday afternoon when target shooters created sparks in a remote area northeast of Washoe Lake. They tried to extinguish the fast-moving fire before calling 911, said spokesman Scott Johnson.
“They didn’t try to hide it at all,” he said. “They were the ones that called it in. That was the last thing they expected to do when they went out Wednesday was to start a fire. They were pretty bummed out.”
The fire spread quickly to the northeast with afternoon winds, burning eight structures and damaging eight more.
The only injury reported so far occurred when a woman crashed her car into a fire truck during evacuations through dense smoke on Wednesday afternoon.
Bulldozers and hand crews worked overnight to build containment lines along the fire’s northeast and eastern flank. The fire has not jumped over Geiger Grade, though residents of the Virginia Highlands are being told the fire may move in their direction. There are no longer any road closures or evacuation orders.
Fire managers are bracing for more winds Thursday afternoon, this time from the north. There is a chance the fire could be pushed back toward homes in the New Washoe City neighborhood northeast of Washoe Lake.
“The weather front moving in should bring lower temps by afternoon but until that happens we’re going to get these squirrelly winds and if we have spot fires they could easily toss embers over the fire line toward those homes,” Crawford said.
The number of airplanes fighting the fire has been decreased Thursday while the number of helicopters has increased to 10.
“This is more of a helicopter show now,” said fire information officer Mark Struble. “I don’t think we’ll see heavy tankers unless this thing starts running again.”
About 555 firefighters are working the fire along with six airtankers, six helicopters, 57 fire engines, 11 20-person hand crews and six bulldozers.
“It’s pretty much supersaturation up there as far as resources are concerned,” Crawford said.
Seventy-six percent of the land burned by the Andrew fire is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and 24 percent is private.
Contact Karl Horeis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.