High winds and a fast-moving wildfire threatened multiple homes and led to voluntary evacuations on Saturday, July 13.
According to authorities, multiple agencies responded to the report of a brushfire off Herschell Road in Humboldt County last Saturday at approximately 4 p.m., which burned 316 acres without injury. Officials say there were many challenging factors with battling the blaze, including high temperatures, low humidity, changing winds and rough terrain.
As of July 15, open burning is closed in Humboldt Fire District and Winnemucca Rural Fire District, meaning individuals can no longer burn weeds or burn barrels. Sheen said fire pits can be utilized if they are made of brick, cement and block fire pits asking people to be prudent and make sure it’s put out. Open burning will be closed until further notice.
Winnemucca Rural Fire Department (WRFD) Chief Torrey Sheen said that the cause of the fire is unknown and currently under investigation. Sheen said there were no injuries and fire destroyed a camp trailer, older mobile home and storage unit that were uninhabited.
“The wildland fire on Saturday was a tough one, to say the least, several factors were against us” said Sheen. “On arrival, accessing the fire from the backside proved to be slow due to sandy terrain.”
The fire burned in a wildland area near Ryan Boulevard, Wing Avenue and Airview Boulevard and onto the south side of the Winnemucca Municipal Airport property. Sheen said several WRFD units mobilized to Wing Avenue to provide residential structure protection from the fire.
Fire units from the Pershing County Fire Department and Grass Valley Fire Department assisted, along with BLM, and the Winnemucca Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD). There were multiple airdrops of retardant and water to protect the structures in the fire path.
“There are so many people and agencies to thank for their help I won’t try to list them all,” said Sheen. “The structures were saved even as fire burned up to and around a few homes. The only losses were two camp trailers.”
In total, Sheen estimates that the response team included 10 WRFD units responded, four WVFD units, four to five GVFD units, two fixed-wing, one helicopter and BLM bulldozers cutting a line around the fire. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office also helped with traffic control. The WRFD firefighters were the last on the scene and back at the fire station at nearly 11:00 p.m.
On Monday the WRFD was dispatched to a private property brush fire on Dutch Flat Road that was started by a barbeque and burned 1.5 acres before being extinguished.
“It was a multi-agency effort to get that done and save houses and I thanked everyone, it really helped to have that many people out there keeping things under control,” said Sheen.
Sheen also said during Saturday’s events, there was an unusually high amount of traffic with both first responders and concerned citizens in the area. Sheen advised those who do not have a need to be in the area of the scene of a fire to stay away as to allow first responders to access the scene without creating additional challenges and safety concerns.
More information on the burn ban can be obtained by calling the main firehouse at (775) 623-6351, Torrey Sheen at (775) 421-6327 or Dewey Guercio at (775) 304-2293.