Topaz Ranch Estates fire burning away from homes |

Topaz Ranch Estates fire burning away from homes

Kurt Hildebrand
Smoke is visible over the mountains from the Minnehaha Canyon fire burning in Douglas County. The fire is burning away from homes in Topaz Ranch Estates.
Brad Coman |

An 85-acre fire in Minnehaha Canyon north of Topaz Ranch Estates was burning away from homes on Saturday morning.

East Fork Fire Marshal Steve Eisele said the fire is in the old Holbrook Fire, burning in grass and light sagebrush. He said it’s getting into some piñon-juniper stands.

Two single-engine air tankers and two helicopters were working with firefighters from East Fork, the BLM, and the Nevada Division of Forestry to extinguish the blaze, which was reported at 6:11 a.m., Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch stated.

Four water tenders, four hand crews and a dozen engines were on hand. More than 100 firefighters were working the blaze.

Sierra Front Dispatcher Helen Frazier said the heat and low relative humidity were the predominant weather factors in fighting the fire.

Winds were forecast to be light today at 15 mph, though the fire was capable of producing its own winds, Frazier said.

The fire was burning with a moderate rate of spread in steep rocky terrain, with slopes of 26-40 percent at the ridge top.

A smoke plume from the fire was visible from Carson Valley.

The fire was burning on some BLM land and on private property.

“There is no immediate structure threat,” Eisele said from the command post in Topaz Ranch Estates. “We are starting to get a little wind out of the southwest, but that will push the fire away from TRE.”

The fire was burning in a relatively remote section of the Pine Nuts about a 30 minute drive on dirt roads.

One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion as temperatures in the area started to rise. An ambulance was called to the scene for a second firefighter suffering dehydration.

“Hopefully, we’ll continue to get aircraft to help and we’ll keep working to build fire line on the ground and from the air,” Eisele said.

The cause of the fire was unknown, but was being investigated by BLM law enforcement.

East Fork volunteers were manning stations in Carson Valley while much of the district’s resources were fighting the fire.