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July 16, 2012
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Small brush fires consume about 10 acres

Two small brush fires were reported in Douglas County within 24 hours over the weekend.

Fire was reported about 1:25 p.m. Friday on the east side of Highway 395 south of Gardnerville near China Spring Youth Camp.

Witnesses reported seeing a woman driving a Jeep with California plates leaving the area when the fire broke out.

According to East Fork Fire Capt. Terry Taylor, the witnesses stopped her, but she said she didn't have a cell phone and left the area.

A woman and a man at the location dumped ice and water from their cooler on the fire, while a tow truck driver used a fire extinguisher and other people covered the fire with dirt. At one time, flames were reported 4 feet high.

East Fork Fire dispatched two engines and a battalion chief.

The fire was extinguished in about 10 minutes.

Taylor said the woman was stopped as she drove into Gardnerville and questioned by fire officials and sheriff's office investigators.

He said she was cooperative, and there was no evidence she had been smoking. She told him she made a rest stop in the area, and the fire apparently started as she was leaving.

He said the fire is under investigation.

The Stockyard Fire was reported 24 hours later at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on Stockyard and Coyote roads in East Valley.

Taylor said smoke was showing from the hills east of East Valley Road. He said there had been very little wind, but it was picking up, and a second alarm was called.

Taylor said preliminary investigation indicates the fire was started by target shooters.

"Because of the extremely dry fuel, people who are shooting in areas with rocks and cheatgrass on slopes have a much higher probability of igniting a fire," Taylor said.

He advised target shooters to practice at a designated rifle or pistol range, or find a safe embankment that doesn't contain rocks or easily ignited fuel.

"Bullets hit rocks and the rocks fracture. When it fractures, it creates sparks," Taylor said. "In some instances it is the bullet that causes the sparks, but that depends on the ammunition."

The Stockyard Fire burned 10 acres of brush. Units from East Fork, Nevada Division of Forestry and Bureau of Land Management responded, utilizing 65 personnel and a helicopter.

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The Record Courier Updated Jul 17, 2012 12:31PM Published Jul 16, 2012 07:31PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.