Emergency Declared for Douglas County Nevada Wildfire

Emergency Declared for Douglas County Nevada Wildfire
By Jack Freer  |  Posted July 9, 2013  |  Gardnerville, Nevada

CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Jack Freer has lived in Gardnerville, Nevada, for 20 years and says this is the largest fire he has seen in his time as a resident there. Freer visited a local command post to take photos of firefighters setting up emergency preparation July 9. – jccarp, CNN iReport producer

East Fork Fire Protection District Fire Chief Tod Carlini reports that the Douglas County Board of Commissioners has declared a State of Emergency for the Bison Fire. This allows the County to request additional State resources and assistance, as well as federal assistance, should the Governor deem a State of Emergency for the State of Nevada.

Governor Brian Sandoval was briefed on the Bison Fire at the Incident Command Post July 8 along with the Nevada Department of Emergency Management Director and their staff.

A Great Basin Management Type 2 Team, operating under Incident Commander Mike Whalen, reports firefighters made progress even though the fire quadrupled in size over the past two days to 25,733 acres, with almost all of the acreage increase on the north side of the incident. The fire is now 25% contained with a revised full containment target date of July 14.

The fire burned actively until about 3 a.m. on the northeast and southeast sides. The night crews were able to make significant progress.

The fire ran through the Slater Mine area Sunday burning several old structures, but no further structures have been reported to be lost.

The fire on the east side is backing downhill toward Pipeline Canyon, which is on the west side of Smith Valley. The Lyon County Sheriff has implemented a voluntary evacuation of Pipeline Canyon as a precaution.

A spike camp was set up in Smith Valley and about 200 firefighters will be working out of this camp.

Approximately 722 firefighter personnel are assigned to the incident with more resources arriving daily. One firefighter injury, a twisted knee, was reported yesterday.

Members of the public have been asked to stay away from the fire area. Individuals have been spotted on various types of vehicles too close to the fire and fire equipment and this can interfere with fire suppression operations.

The fire’s advance to the north as resulted in the following road closures to non-residents:

East Valley Road at Grandview
Sunrise Pass at Coyote Rocks
Brunswick Canyon Road
Mexican Dam Road
Sunrise Pass Road at Artesia Road
Pine Nut Road at the intersection of Out-R-Way remains closed due to heavy amounts of fire vehicle traffic. There is a diminishing threat to about 20 residences in this area west of the fire as crews and equipment have secured containment lines.

A portable Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) base has been establishing at the Minden-Tahoe Airport in Douglas County to service up to seven SEAT aircraft working the fire. Four Type 1 heavy air tankers are operating out of the Stead Airport north of Reno. There are also eight helicopters of varying sizes and capabilities dropping water on hotspots and ready to provide medical evacuation if necessary.

The Bison Fire started at approximately 3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 4, 2013. The lightning-caused fire is located along the western slope of the Pine Nut Mountain range in Douglas County, Nevada, and is burning a combination of Bureau of Land Management public lands, Native American allotment lands, and private lands about 5 miles east of Gardnerville and east of U.S. Highway 395.

The Great Basin Type 2 Team assumed command of the fire Sunday, July 7, at 6 a.m. The Incident Command Post is located at the Douglas County Fairground east of Gardnerville.

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