Officials: Fuels project helped slow Lebo Fire

Source: Bureau of Land Management

Source: Bureau of Land Management

The season's first real wildfire in the Pine Nut Mountains  was also a test of a fuels project, according to federal officials.

The 27.5-acre Lebo Springs Fire was essentially contained within four hours of the first sighting of the plume around 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Burning about eight miles east of Johnson Lane, the Bureau of Land Management is reporting it was human caused.

The site was the location of the 660-acre Sunrise Fuels Project that was completed in 2015 and touched up in 2019.

“This area has potential for large wildfire growth but with this treatment in place and quick response from firefighters, fire suppression efforts were successful,” said District Fuels Program Manager Ryan Elliott. “When this project was implemented, it was controversial due to the removal of piñon and brush. The Lebo Springs Fire would likely be actively growing if it were not for this fuels project.”

Also contributing to keeping the fire in check were four single-engine air tankers assigned to the blaze, which let firefighters get a hose line around the fire by 6 p.m.

“The project was designed to thin brush and trees through mechanical mastication in a manner that maintains and restores a diverse, functioning, and resilient plant community and reduce fire intensity potential,” according to the BLM.

About a half-hour after the first report on the Lebo Fire, a second fire was reported at the top of Sleeping Elephant Hill in Topaz Ranch Estates.

That fire was kept to an acre, with forward progress stopped by 4:30 p.m. Rain that fell in the south county on Tuesday evening helped extinguish that fire.

Thursday’s thunderstorm likely set another fire in the Carson Range between Jobs and Monument peaks. Reported around 6 p.m., the fire was at a tenth of an acre.

Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service were expected to fly into the area to fight the fire.

Scores of lightning strikes peppered Western Nevada on Wednesday and Thursday, any one of which could result in a fire once the wind picks up.

Fortunately, heavy rain fell in most locations, which may keep the number of fire starts down.

East Fork firefighters are in Northern California after they received requests for a strike team leader and two brush engines.

An East Fork battalion chief left Monday night for the China 2 Fire burning in the Klamath National Forest after a request from the California Office of Emergency Services.

“At the request of the National Geographic Area Coordination Center, the district sent a Type 3 and Type 6 brush engine from East Fork Fire Protection District for a staging assignment in Northern California,” East Fork Deputy Fire Chief of Operations Scott Gorgon said on Tuesday.

The McKinney Fire has grown to nearly 60,000 acres since it was first reported on July 29 near Yreka, Calif.


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