Waterfall blaze drawing to a close with fire crews released | NevadaAppeal.com

Waterfall blaze drawing to a close with fire crews released

Karl Horeis
Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal USFS district ranger Gary Schiff talks about the effects of the Waterfall fire Saturday on popular recreational spots in the area. He and other officials spoke and answered question from a small crowd during an information update on the fire.
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With more than 600 firefighters released and rehabilitation under way, authorities said Sunday residents are less threatened by the Waterfall fire above Carson City.

It is expected to be fully contained by midnight tonight.

Red Cross spokeswoman and Carson City resident Donna Brand woke Sunday morning to see rain falling on the mountains. A double rainbow curved into Kings Canyon. (See photo on page A3.)

“That was really good to see,” she said. “It was hopeful.”

Firefighters have the fire contained on all fronts except the west, where they are doing back burns to cut off the 7,600-acre fire.

“The smoke that’s seen today is basically from our own operations, from back fires that we started,” said fire information officer Diane Minutilli on Sunday afternoon.

Authorities have moved their expected time for full containment back a few hours to midnight tonight. The fire burned out of control on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, when it destroyed 15 homes in Kings Canyon, Timberline and South Carson.

Hot Shot crews high on the mountain have been able to contain the blaze despite increased winds Saturday night and Sunday morning.

“All the lines that we had built held,” Minutilli said. “Nothing spotted over the lines.”

Off-highway vehicles are banned in the burn area by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. This will reduce erosion and give rehabilitation workers time to undo new bulldozer tracks before they become trails for riders.

No more 9 a.m. meetings are planned at the Carson City Community Center. Gov. Kenny Guinn will speak at a 1:30 press conference today at the last of planned media briefings on the fire.

Military helicopters were released Sunday at 1 p.m., leaving four helicopters to supply hand crews. The national Type 1 fire management team expects to leave the area Wednesday.

People are reminded to call 911 if they see any flareups.

The public is asked to stay out of the burned area. Tree trunks continue to burn underground, scorched trees may fall over without warning, and rocks could tumble from disrupted slopes.

“There are a lot of dangers out there,” Minutilli said.

Drivers are asked to watch for deer that may be crossing Highway 395 north of the Lakeview neighborhood.

Contact Karl Horeis at khoreis@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.