Barbecue fund-raiser coming to Topaz |

Barbecue fund-raiser coming to Topaz

The Topaz Lake Volunteer Fire Department’s 37th annual barbecue is Sunday, Sept. 5, from noon to 6 p.m., at the fire station, 1990 Austin St., Topaz Lake.

Slowly roasted barbecue beef will be served with all the fixin’s. Raffles for door prizes and gift certificates will be held all afternoon. You must be present to win. You need not be present to win $750 in cash at a separate drawing. A slot machine and many other items will be auctioned at approximately 5 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Shilo Country Western Band.

Tickets for the barbecue are $10 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12. All proceeds benefit Topaz Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

Chief Bob Gable talked with me about a lightning strike fire, a new Arial ladder truck, the completion of the emergency landing zone, maintaining a defensible space around homes, and the need for volunteers.

Fire: A lightning strike in the hills Thursday, Aug. 19 to the east of Topaz Lake, a part of the Sweetwater Mountains, caused a smoldering fire to erupt into smoke and flames on Saturday Aug. 21. Topaz Lake Volunteer Fire Department kept watch in the fire area in case the wind shifted. Two helicopters and one slurry bomber were able to make water drops and put the fire out. Smoke jumpers were called in on Sunday to do the mop up. Firefighters protected four structures, watched for any adverse wind conditions and were helped with the assistance of three brush trucks, a rescue unit, two water tenders, and the water drops.

Arial Ladder Truck: A new Arial ladder truck has been added to the south county and will be stationed at the Ranchos Fire Department. The primary function of the truck is for high-rise fires. It doesn’t carry any water, but has an expandable ladder with a built in hard hose attached.

It carries equipment for extrication and serves as a big toolbox. Ladders extend to about 100 feet. They are primarily used to enable firefighters to get up high enough to get the water down into the center. An expandable ladder has a built in hard hose attached. Water from a hydrant or water tender is then connected and the firefighter on the top of the ladder can direct the stream of water from the top down into the fire. Special training is required.

Landing Zone: Plans are underway for a dedication ceremony and demonstration that will take place at the new emergency helicopter landing zone at the corner of Highways 208 and 395 with the landing of a Care Flight helicopter. The date and time will be announced. The pavement is the regrind packed down and oiled from highways that have been resurfaced. The property was released from the Nevada Division of Transportation and the project was sponsored by the East Fork Fire District.

“The big problem here is having a secure place to land helicopters. In the past we have used the driveway to Holbrook Junction as a Landing Zone, said Gable. “We’ve got trees and highline wires and everything else to be concerned with. We have also used the flat area on Highway 395, but we get down draft winds. We get helicopters from Washoe Med Care Flight one and Care Flight two, and Cal Star with four helicopters. NDOT also put in a new chain up area. It is posted and there is no parking in the landing zone, which is enforceable by the local sheriff’s department and highway patrol. They will ticket people for it.”

Keep a defensible space around your home: Clear sagebrush and other combustible plant material 30 feet away from your home. Keep wood piles and slash, a term used to describe piles of combustible materials like sagebrush or tree trimmings, 30 feet away from your home.

Trim trees, especially Pinion Pine, six feet up from the ground. Ground cover is what is called ladder fuels and should be cleaned out particularly around the Pinion trees so that they can’t ignite from the bottom up. To help prevent fire from destroying your home, maintain a 30 foot clearance. Exceptions are for landscaping.

Volunteers are needed at Topaz Lake and Topaz Ranch Estates Volunteer Fire Departments. To become a volunteer firefighter you must be 18 years of age or older and are required to take four Entry Level Firefighter’s classes including structure, wildland, hazardous materials, and basic medical aid for a total of about 120 hours. Two of the four classes must be completed within a year’s time. The complete series of classes is offered twice year. Volunteers can enter a class at any time.

Anyone who is 16 years of age or older and wishes to become a volunteer can enter the cadet training program. For information, contact Chief Bob Gable at 266-3634 or come to the station the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m., for the business meeting.

For information, the East Fork Fire & Paramedic District’s Web site is

Veterans of Foreign Wars Garage Sale: The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3630 will hold their Annual Garage Sale on September 11th and 12th at the Topaz Ranch Estates Park Building. The hours will be Saturday from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m., to 3 p.m. For donations or information contact Commander Bob Ellis at 775-266-4962 or Pal Tucker at 775-266-3756.

— Carolyn Purkiss can be reached at 266-9482 or by e-mail at