Communication towers threatened by fire near Virginia City

A fire raging southwest of Virginia City had grown to 200-250 acres by 9 p.m. Thursday.

The Delaware fire began about 6:18 p.m. and is burning above the historic town of American Flat.

It threatens microwave broadcast and cell phone towers on McClelland Peak, according to the Sierra Front Web site. No other structures are threatened at this time

Officials are preparing to close Goni Road on the east side of Carson City to all but fire vehicles. Fire units are staging on State Route 341 in Gold Hill.

Five air tankers that worked the fire during daylight have returned to base for the night. About 110 people are staffing the fire including six hand crews. Additional units are in route.

The Delaware fire is one of several wildfires reported after lightning strikes peppered western Nevada skies as a strong cell of thunderstorms developed in the Sierra south of Topaz on Thursday and traveled north along the Pine Nuts.

Firefighters are also battling a 10-acre blaze one mile east of Indian Creek Reservoir near the Alpine County airport. The Airport fire was spotted at 1:52 p.m., according to Fire Information Officer Mark Struble.

He said the fire is burning in cheatgrass, shrubs and some piƱon pines. Alpine County Airport is closed while firefighting aircraft use it. Some of the eight fire engines on the fire are protecting a ranch near the fire.

In all, 130 firefighters, including five handcrews are working the fire.

Agencies including the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management, Alpine County, the Nevada Division of Forestry, the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, the U.S. Forest Service, Stanislaus National Forestry and the California Department of Forestry are working on the fire.

The Alpine Ranch fire has blackened 20 acres in Churchill County, near Cold Springs. It began about 3:03 p.m. in grass and shrubs.

BLM Great Basin Smokejumpers, BLM Helicopter Task Force based out of Boise responded to that fire, with personnel numbering 25. Smokejumpers trying to get to the Alpine Ranch fire were delayed in jumping to the fire due to the thunderstorm.

Cause of the fires is still under investigation.

In addition, a column of smoke was reported south of Topaz Lake at about 5:25 p.m. and firefighters reported several lightning strikes near Sierra Spirit Ranch in the Pine Nut Mountains.


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