Windy weather fans fires around Valley
November 19, 2011
Winds approaching 60 mph fanned at least four fires from Woodfords to Ruhenstroth on Friday.
Fire crews shut down Highway 395 in response to the day’s fourth wildland fire reported at 12:30 p.m. near Stone Throw’s Road south of Gardnerville.
The wind is suspected of setting two fires in Ruhenstroth on Friday, causing power lines to arc and send sparks into the brush.
While the first fire was quickly suppressed, the second quickly expanded to 15 acres and threatened homes in Ruhenstroth and the Pine Nut neighborhoods.
East Fork Chief Tod Carlini said that Friday would have had a red flag warning if it had occurred in summer.
“The initial reports on that fire were quite concerning,” he said. “We put in some mutual aid requests. We weren’t going to take any chances.”
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Fortunately the district had put volunteers on alert and had added extra personnel in preparation for the windy weather.
“We were able to throw quite a few resources at it all at once,” he said. “We also had one unit clearing from the other fire when the alarm came in. They did a great job getting us some initial direction about it. The fire was moving a real rapid pace.”
Starting at a half-acre, the fire quickly burned up a hill toward Ruhenstroth before firefighters were able to bring it to heel within an hour.
It was the largest fire of the day, with the first occurring around 9 a.m. off Diamond Valley Road in Alpine County.
The second occurred in a small lot of Tillman Lane in the Gardnerville Ranchos, and the third was called in from the Ruhenstroth area, off Wiseman Lane.
High winds also knocked branches out of trees, blew over a shed in Indian Hills and stripped shingles off homes in the west Valley.
Winds also bedeviled firefighters battling the 2,000 acre Caughlin fire in Reno, which claimed 25 homes on Friday.
Carlini said Engine 12 and a crew of four firefighters from the Sunridge station went to the fire at about 1 a.m. Friday, not long after the fire was reported at 12:30 a.m.