Breaking: Officials say truck towing trailer started Cold Springs Fire

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Fire burns late Friday afternoon near Cold Springs, just north of Reno. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Department’s HASTY team was helping to evacuate residents near Red Rock Road. The video was provided by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department. Wochit

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Helicopters battle the Cold Springs Fire on Friday July 14, 2017(Photo: Andy Barron/RGJ)Buy Photo

This article will be updated throughout the day Saturday as more information on local fires becomes available.

3:50 p.m. update:

A truck towing a trailer on U.S.

Highway 395 started the Cold Springs fire that burned more than 1,500 acres and threatened 250 homes on Friday, according to a fire investigator.

Bureau of Land Management ranger and fire investigator Scott Fischer said at about 12:50 p.m., a BLM firefighter traveling southbound saw the truck traveling northbound near exit 80 with sparks shooting from the back of the vehicle, which was towing a travel trailer.

The sparks caused at least seven fire starts over about a half-mile, Fischer said.

The driver and vehicle have not yet been identified. Fischer said the truck was a full size truck, possibly a Ford F-250 or F-350.

The firefighter-witness said it appeared other drivers were attempting to alert the truck driver to the sparks, which means there were possibly other witnesses.

Witnesses are urged to call (775) 885-6117.

1:30 p.m. update:

According to a tweet from the Bureau of Land Management, the Long Valley Fire evacuation order was lifted to an advisory for Rancho Haven.

#LongValleyFire[1] evac order lifted to advisory for Rancho Haven. O’Brien Middle school setup for evac ctr.

Large animals- Livestock Evt Ctr.

— BLM Nevada (@blmnv) July 15, 2017[2]

12:15 p.m. update:

Voluntary evacuations were ordered near the Rancho Haven and Winnemucca Ranch area for the Long Valley Fire.

According to a spokesperson for the fire Thanh Nguyen, the edges of the fire were about one mile away from the community when the evacuations were ordered.

Members of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office are in the area and assisting with evacuations.

The fire grew to 41,000 acres and was 20 percent contained Saturday. The fire sparked Tuesday six miles north of Doyle, Calif.

Five outbuildings and seven vehicles were destroyed in the fire and three residences were damaged. No residences were destroyed.

There were about 533 personnel working the fire including 14 handcrews, seven helicopters, 37 engines, nine dozers and seven water tenders.

@TMFPD[3] Advisory: Rancho Haven and Winnemucca Ranch evacuate if necessary to O’Brien Middle School.

Large animals to Livestock Event Center.

— Washoe County (@washoecounty) July 15, 2017[4]

10:05 a.m. update:

Fire crews are saying that it’s all good news Saturday morning for the Cold Springs and Brenda fires. Erin Holland with Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District confirmed there was no new growth on both the Brenda and Cold Springs fires overnight.

“The fight our crews put up last night – especially at the Cold Springs Fire – is just amazing,” Holland said noting that both fires are entering mop up operations.

As of 10 a.m., the Brenda Fire burned 632 acres and is 10 percent contained. All forward progress on this fire has been halted.

Crews are continuing to work to strengthen the fire lines, and according to Sierra Front, all aviation resources were released from the fire.

All evacuations and closures have been lifted.

The Cold Springs Fire burned 1,523 acres and is 20 percent contained Saturday morning.

There are about 213 personnel fighting the fire Saturday.

On Friday, about 250 homes and 70 structures were threatened, but by Saturday morning, no structures were lost. All evacuations and closures have been lifted in the area.

Power lines in the area were damaged and destroyed, but crews are working to restore power to the area.

Cold Springs Fire

Paul Duminie stood on the roof of his home on Red Rock Road with a hose.

As he watched the fire, that as of Friday night had burned more than 1,500 acres north of Reno in Cold Springs, Duminie thought about all he could lose. Everything he owned was inside that house, as he sprayed down what he could with water.

“I soaked my roof good until the sheriff got me,” he said. “Then I had to leave.

I thought I could walk out but the smoke was too bad.”

The Cold Springs Fire, which started Friday around 1:40 p.m. was threatening hundreds of homes and businesses as it burned off 395 near Stead Boulevard. It shut down roads and evacuated thousands.

But for many like Duminie, the Friday fire ended with good news.

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Paul Duminie hugs his wife following news that his Cold Springs home survived the fire. (Photo: Jenny Kane, RGJ)

Duminie and his wife hugged as they found out their home avoided the flames that surrounded it.

“Everything worked as it should,” said Gail Powell with the Nevada Department of Public Safety. She said she and crews have bounced from fire to fire since July 3.

She is used to breathing in smoke and firefighters are used to quickly fight fires.

“We were able to attack this fire so quickly because of other fires in the area,” she said.

Resources were pulled from other fires including Doyle, Calif., where a wild fire has burned more than 35,000 acres since Tuesday.

Show ThumbnailsShow Captions[5][6]

Fire officials from multiple agencies attacked the fire that became unpredictable because of wind, said Washoe County Sheriff Bob Harmon.

Officials first started warning residents near Crystal Canyon Boulevard and White Lake Parkway to evacuate but the fire, pushed by winds, moved toward Red Rock Road.

Mary Asselin was driving home from work with groceries when she saw smoke over the hill.

“I thought ‘uh oh, that doesn’t look good,'” she said.

Soon after residents in the Silver Knolls area of Red Rock were under voluntary evacuations. By Saturday morning, all of the evacuations were lifted in the area and all residents can return home.

Acacia Sprague, a manager at the Sierra Safari Zoo said helicopters could be seen dropping water and fire retardant in the area.

As of Friday evening, the fire was 20 percent contained.

There were 213 people assigned to the fire. Powell said crews would be working through the night.

Brenda Fire

Erin Holland of the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District said the fire has reached 1,200 acres and 10 percent containment.

She credited air resources, which included the Nevada National Guard, for much of the progress gaining containment.

The Nevada National Guard used two Blackhawk helicopters to douse the flames from the air, said Tech. Sgt. Emerson Marcus, Nevada National Guard spokesman.

The helicopters are capable of picking up 650 gallons of water in a single pass.

They filled at Washoe Lake and made the short flight to the fire repeatedly throughout the late afternoon and into early evening. Firefighters also used fixed wing aircraft. By Saturday morning, all air resources were released from the fire.

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Raw footage of the Brenda fire in Washoe Valley just south of Reno, taken July 14, 2017. Jason Hidalgo

Holland said bulldozers on the right flank were also a major help.

An estimated 250-300 firefighters were expected to battle the fire through the night, she said.

Resident Lou Bubala has been watching the Brenda Fire throughout the evening and said it doesn’t appear to be burning toward homes. But it has consumed several hundred acres of untouched landscape.

“The areas it is burning are pretty undeveloped,” Bubala said. “I’d rather not sagebrush burn but on the other hand it doesn’t look like it is burning toward any houses.”

Bubala said close calls with fire are part of living in the scenic and mostly rural Washoe Valley. There’s widespread cheatgrass and strong winds are a routine occurrence.

He said he maintains defensible space around his home.

But embers can travel long distances in the wind.

“I often wonder how much space is enough if you have fire embers coming your way,” he said.

Eastlake Boulevard and 395 are open to traffic. There are crews still in area, so drivers should remain cautious.

All evacuations and closures in the vicinity have been lifted.

Other wildfires

* The Lizzie Fire burning north of the Lahontan Reservoir grew to 86 acres. Units are on scene Saturday morning battling the fire.

* The Long Valley Fire burned 37,025 acres and was 20 percent contained.

The fire sparked Tuesday six miles north of Doyle, Calif.

Five outbuildings and seven vehicles were destroyed in the fire and three residences were damaged. No residences were destroyed.

There were about 533 personnel working the fire including 14 handcrews, seven helicopters, 37 engines, nine dozers and seven water tenders.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

#LongValleyFire has increased to ~37k acres, 20% contained. The fire made a significant push near Dry Valley.

Night ops are in place. pic.twitter.com/YLLEgcY8n1[7][8]

— BLM Nevada (@blmnv) July 15, 2017[9]

* The Tohakum Fire – formerly the Pyramid Lake Fire – was fully contained Friday night after burning one acre.

* The Farad Fire burned 747 acres and was 81 percent contained. The fire sparked Monday north of Interstate 80.

The fire is burning in very steep terrain and in grass, sagebrush and timber. Fire crews are watching for potential thunderstorms and winds in the area.

Many of the crews were released to help on other fires burning in the area Friday.

According to Sierra Front, no further growth is expected.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

* The Roosters Comb Fire north of Battle Mountain burned 218,380 acres and was 80 percent contained.

Crews are watching carefully for any potential new fire starts due to thunderstorms and will continue constructing fire lines.

Read or Share this story: http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2017/07/15/wildfire-updates-cold-springs-brenda-and-others/481558001/

References

  1. ^ #LongValleyFire (twitter.com)
  2. ^ July 15, 2017 (twitter.com)
  3. ^ @TMFPD (twitter.com)
  4. ^ July 15, 2017 (twitter.com)
  5. ^ (www.rgj.com)
  6. ^ (www.rgj.com)
  7. ^ #LongValleyFire (twitter.com)
  8. ^ pic.twitter.com/YLLEgcY8n1 (t.co)
  9. ^ July 15, 2017 (twitter.com)

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