Monarch crowned summer’s first big blaze |

Monarch crowned summer’s first big blaze

A firefighter hoses down the area around a portable water tank to keep dust down while helicopters are dipping water to drop on the Monarch Fire
Kurt Hildebrand

Thursday’s thunderstorms reversed some of the damage Mother Nature did by starting the 2,330-acre Monarch Fire two days earlier.

“The fire did receive some rain, but there are still many hotspots” Fire spokeswoman Lisa Herron said Friday.

Firefighters have a line around 70 percent of the Monarch Fire as of Saturday morning.

Full containment is expected by Monday as the fire showed minimal activity on Friday, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center situation report issued on Saturday morning.

Better mapping reduced the size of the fire to 2,330 acres as firefighters begin to demobilize to other incidents. As of Saturday morning, there were 183 firefighters in five hand crews and eight engines working on the fire, a decrease of 93 from the peak staffing on Friday.

The Monarch fire cost $931,000 to fight, according to federal officials.

The fire was reported around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday as a smoke plume rose above the Pine Nut Mountains.

There have been no reports of injuries and no homes are threatened.

The fire is burning in high grass, piñon and juniper near the site of the old Preacher Fire.

According to the fire map, it’s burning between Galena Peak and Sugar Loaf near the old Monarch Mine, after which the fire is named.

Responding agencies include East Fork Fire Protection District, Central Lyon, North Lake Tahoe, North Lyon, Story County, Tahoe Douglas and Truckee Meadows Fire Protection Districts, Reno Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Division of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service.

A new, 1,000-acre fire burning near the former Aurora ghost town 15 miles east of Bridgeport has attracted some of those resources.

firefighters are racing to contain the fire before gusty winds and low humidity arrive noon Saturday.

Easily a dozen lightning strikes were reported around Douglas County on Thursday, setting two small fires above Johnson Lane. One at Toni Court above Fremont was put out by rain and residents while another at the end of Romero was extinguished by East Fork firefighters.