INCLINE VILLAGE - Explosives found at Incline Lake on Wednesday caused a momentary scare, but bomb technicians diffused three nitroglycerin-based canisters that authorities believe could have been used for avalanche control - maybe 30 years ago.
"Those canisters were probably sitting there for 30 years or so," said Washoe County Sheriff's Office Incline Village substation Cmdr. Gregg Lubbe, who said the canisters could have been used for avalanche abatement, mining or to create holes for ski lift towers.
Deputies were alerted to the presence of explosives by Incline Lake property caretaker Charlie Nash, 19, who notified sheriff's deputies about explosives he found while hiking at the lake near Mount Rose a week and a half ago.
Nash said he found canisters in a wooded area several hundred yards from the residence. They were about the size of spray paint cans and labeled "highly explosive."
"We contacted the owners, and they laughed it off," Nash said. "We just don't want anyone hiking up there and have something explode."
Seven fire district vehicles and a sheriff's squad car arrived on scene at about 12:45 p.m. to begin searching the area for additional canisters.
The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District's Slide Mountain Hand Crew and the sheriff's bomb squad found a total of six canisters.
"Some of the things looked like they had been there since the 1950s," Incline substation Deputy Eric Frederickson said.
Three of the canisters had been expended. Bomb technicians Chris Carter and John Clayton successfully disabled the other three on site. The binary explosives were made by DuPont, said Carter.
The Washoe County Consolidated Bomb Squad worked alongside the hand crew all afternoon, scouring about four acres for remaining canisters. By 3:49 p.m., officials declared the area free of explosives.
The search, which occurred in a remote area, required no evacuations or road closures, according to Darren Rice, public information officer for the Washoe County Sheriff's Office.