Illegal campfire cited in Alpine blaze |

Illegal campfire cited in Alpine blaze

Recreational vehicles head north up Highway 88 after a fire broke out near Indian Creek Campground in Alpine County on Monday.
Kurt Hildebrand

An illegal campfire may have been to blame for a 21-acre blaze that forced evacuation of the Indian Creek campground on Monday.

A Bureau of Land Management fire investigator believes the campfire was the cause, spokeswoman Lisa Ross said on Tuesday.

The fire broke out at 12:30 p.m. Monday and sent up a smoke plume that could be seen from across Carson Valley.

The plume prompted other fire reports, including one resident who thought it was at the old power dam south of Gardnerville.

Owners of evacuating recreational vehicles could be seen leaving the county along Highway 88 in Carson Valley.

Federal, Alpine County and East Fork firefighters responded to the blaze, along with a helicopter.

Alpine deputies evacuated the campground and the road to the county’s airport was closed for fire operations.

Firefighters had a handle on the blaze by 3 p.m. and the campground and road were reopened on Tuesday, according to the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office.

This was the second wildfire East Fork Fire Protection District firefighters responded to in three days in the Sierra Front.

A brush engine and a battalion chief responded to the 1,165-acre Jasper Fire near Spanish Springs on Saturday.

The fire stared around 3 p.m. It is believed target shooters may be responsible. At one point, nearly 200 firefighters were working on the blaze, which was contained on Tuesday.

Fire restrictions are in effect across the Sierra Front which prohibit building, maintaining, attending or using a fire (using wood, charcoal or any other material), campfire or stove fire except a portable stove using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel outside of a developed fee campground or picnic area (except by permit).

Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or at a developed campground or picnic area.

Operating vehicles or other motorized equipment off of existing paved, gravel or dirt roads.

Welding or operating an acetylene torch with open flames, except by permit.

Using or causing to be used any explosive, except by permit.

Possession or use of fireworks or any other incendiary device.

Use of tracer rounds (always prohibited), steel-core ammunition, or exploding targets, including Binary Explosive Targets while recreational shooting.

All agencies recommend when operating vehicles or equipment traveling on or using wildland areas to have at least an axe, shovel and one gallon of water and to carry cell phones while in the wildlands or national forests to report wildfires.

A red flag warning for extreme fire danger came and went on Sunday without any new major fires.