Grinding blamed for Ranchos fire |

Grinding blamed for Ranchos fire

A firefighter extinguishes a blaze in the backyard of a half-dozen Ranchos homes on Thursday.
Kurt Hildebrand

A backyard welding project turned into a fire that burned across eight homes’ property in the Gardnerville Ranchos on Thursday.

A neighbor on Long Valley Drive was grinding down something he’d just welded when sparks set the grass on fire at 11:45 a.m.

The fire quickly jumped the fences into neighboring yards, threatening homes, according to East Fork Battalion Chief Scott Fraser.

Residents with garden hoses and a landscaping crew helped keep the flames from reaching homes until firefighters arrived on scene.

Fraser said forward progress of the fire was halted at 12:20 p.m.

A shed, a vehicle and four fence lines were damaged in the blaze, that charred 1.5 acres.

Long Valley Road south of Main River Drive was closed by Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies, who also went door to door to alert residents of the danger. Douglas County Animal Control responded to help with residents’ pets.

Carson City and the Tahoe Douglas fire personnel helped cover Carson Valley while East Fork fought the fire. Combined those agencies handled another four calls while units were committed to the fire.

NV Energy responded to de-energize a line.

Fire Marshal Steve Eisele said the homeowner was using a grinder to clean up a metal fence clip he’d just welded on when he spotted the grass on fire.

“He goes to stomp it out and he can’t get it out,” Eisele said. “He ran up to the house and starts the garden hose, but by the time he got back with the hose, the fire had burned all the way over to his neighbor’s yard.”