Tuesday, July 17, 2007, 8:00 a.m.
Contact: (775) 748-4141 or (775) 748-4000, 753-0386
Elko County Fires, Update #4
RAIN HELPS ELKO COUNTY FIRES, NEW ONES ANTICIPATED
Elko, Nev. – Several large fires remain in Elko County caused by wide spread lightning on Monday. The Hepworth Fire located about 10 miles northwest of Wells, Nevada grew substantially late Monday and is estimated at 20,000+ acres. Structures were threatened, but none have been confirmed lost. The fire forced the evacuation of the Tabor Creek Campground and the Campground is closed until further notice. Approximately 100 people are on the fire and a Type II Incident Management Team is en route to assume command.
The HD Fire about 20 miles northeast of Wells has burned an estimated 4,000 acres and closed U.S. Highway 93 for a brief period Monday evening. Highway 93 is currently open. The fire is threatening wildlife and grazing.
The Stevens Fire is burning in Starr Valley about 20 miles west of Wells and is estimated at 5,000+ acres. Reports were received that two older barns, one trailer, and one old school bus were lost, but no primary residences. The fire threatened several ranches and cows were moved out ahead of the fire. Bull dozers and fire crews are actively fighting the fire now.
Other smaller fires remain in Elko County southwest of Jackpot and several fires were extinguished by rain and contained by fire fighters.
“We’ve been in a challenging situation the past 24 hours,” said BLM Fire Management Officer Joe Freeland. “We’ve had more fire starts than we have people and equipment to handle rapidly. More resources are coming in today. We’ve been incredibly lucky with this large number of fires – no homes have been lost, no injuries have been reported, and no vehicle accidents have occurred in the heavy smoke.”
“Fire conditions are extremely dangerous,” Freeland continued. “We’ve got the combination of heavy fuel load and adverse weather with lightning and strong winds. Safety is our number one priority. People will see two air tankers today parked at the Elko Airport and the reason they are there is because the crews are “timed out” and required to rest for 24 hours.”
Freeland added that more fire starts are expected today – either holdover fires from last night’s lighting or new starts from today’s Red Flag conditions … and asked for help from the public. Emergency vehicle traffic will be heavy today. Last night there were hazardous situations with people driving to fires simply to watch them and they blocked or slowed down emergency vehicles on their way to several fires. At one point there were 40 vehicles on the Starr Valley Road getting in the way.
By the end of today, three Incident Management Teams will be working in Elko County.
Fire restrictions in northern and central Nevada will be in effect until further notice. Lands involved include federal, state, tribal, and the Humboldt, Pershing, Lander, Eureka, Elko, Esmeralda, and Nye County Fire Protection Districts and portions of Washoe, Lyon, Churchhill, and White Pine counties. For more specific information go to: http://www.fire.blm.gov/restrictions.htm, http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/htnf/, http://www.forestry.state.nv.us, www.nifc.gov, http://gacc.nifc.gov/wgbc.
To report wildfires call (775) 738-FIRE, (775) 748-4000, or 911.