Smoke from fires fills Carson Valley |

Smoke from fires fills Carson Valley

by Kurt Hildebrand

Smoke from two lightning-started fires filled the skies of Carson Valley, turning the sun red and obscuring the Pine Nut Mountains.

East Fork firefighters shifted their battle to the 50-acre Divide fire east of Fish Springs near Out R Way Road even as the Spring fire burned 1,000 acres several miles north in the Pine Nuts.

Storm cells tracked up and down the Pine Nuts, setting fires, and dumping nearly 2 inches of rain near Mt. Como and Mineral Peak. Sensors in Lebo Springs detected a chance of flash flooding in the Johnson Lane area. The National Weather Service flash flood warning expired at 7:30 p.m.

As rain began to fall near the Spring fire, firefighters turned south to do battle with the Divide fire. Three hand crews worked to get a line around the southern blaze, which was burning in light fuels.

The Spring fire never approached homes, but for a time firefighters were concerned that the Divide fire might require evacuations. Pine Nut Road 2 was closed to all but firefighting traffic, and firefighters staged at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

A red flag warning is in effect until 5 a.m. Monday for thunderstorms and strong outflow winds, according to the National Weather Service. Fast storms will create isolated to scattered dry thunderstorms. The storms started south of Highway 50, but are expected to spread further north tonight. Lightning may start new fires which will grow quickly due to strong outflow winds.

In addition to the East Fork Fire District, the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Division of Forestry and U.S. Forest Service firefighters are fighting the fires.