Bison fire by the numbers
July 26, 2013
There probably have been Pine Nut wildfires that burned for longer than a week in the past, or that consumed more than 24,136 acres, but they predated recordkeeping.
The Bison fire sent a huge plume of smoke into the air for six straight days, creating its own weather, burning both sides of the Pine Nut Mountains for a 12-mile stretch from Mount Como in the north to well past Mount Siegel in the south. Nearly 100 homes were evacuated during the course of the fire on both sides of the mountain.
At its height, more than 1,000 firefighters battled the blaze, including 22 20-firefighter hand crews and those operating 176 pieces of firefighting apparatus. During the course of the fire, 18,738 meals were served to firefighters.
But the numbers that count are the real jaw-droppers.
Despite the fact that firefighters had to dodge old mining claims, rocks, burning brush, 100-foot tall flames and whatever critters were fleeing the fire, only four were injured. Three were twisted legs and the fourth, a breathing problem.
While 98 homes were evacuated, not one burned down as a result of the fire. The only structure lost in the blaze was associated with the old Slater Mine.
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We're not happy to see large swaths of Douglas County's wilderness reduced to ashes, but four minor injuries and no homes lost are pretty good measures of success.
We've already heard a little Monday morning quarterbacking about the Bison fire.
We know that no one will take a harder look at how the fire was fought than the fire services. The fire was bad, but we know it could have been much worse.