Voluntary evacuations lifted in Smith Valley fire
October 4, 2011
Voluntary evacuations along Upper Colony Road in Smith Valley have been lifted as cool temperatures and increased humidity helped slow the 1,062-acre Burbank fire burning in the Pine Nut Mountains.
Fire managers estimated they will have the fire contained by Thursday if conditions remain as forecast, according to the Public Information Officer Kirsten Cannon.
“Decreased temperatures, increased humidity and the efforts of firefighters have reduced fire behavior to creeping and smoldering over the past several days,” said Incident Commander John Kidd. “Suppression efforts to protect private property are ongoing, and we would like homeowners and visitors in the areas to be cautious due to fire traffic in the area.”
Helicopters continued to dump water around the fire to keep it from spreading into those areas inaccessible by ground crews.
The fire threatened about a fifth of the homes in Smith Valley, Cannon said.
“Within minutes of ignition, the fire entered the BLM fuels treatment project,” she said. “This reduced the fire’s intensity, allowing firefighters to safely make direct attack and defend homes and private property.”
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The fire was started by lightning on Friday afternoon and grew quickly thanks to erratic winds.
“The fuels treatment and defensible space work by homeowners made all the difference in the world,” said Rob Loveberg, Fire Chief for the Smith Valley Fire Protection District. “There is no doubt in my mind that without these efforts, structures would have been lost.”