Firefighters respond to first wildfire of 1999 near Floriston
The first forest wildfire of the season struck the greater Truckee area this weekend, scorching three acres of land up Gray Creek near Floriston.
According to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Battalion Chief Bryce Keller, the fire was reported at approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday by someone who saw smoke rising from the area.
The fire occurred within the administrative boundaries of the Toiyabe National Forest on land under the direct protection of CDF.
The blaze, which was most likely caused by a camp fire, probably started at about noon. Officials said that the fire occurred in a remote area and they won’t know who was responsible for the warming fire unless someone comes forward.
The Black Mountain U.S. Forest Service Hot Shot fire crew, which is based in Minden, responded by hiking in late Saturday afternoon.
The location could not be reached by ground or air vehicles due to the steep and difficult terrain and thick trees, said Keller.
Nineteen Black Mountain fire personnel hiked in approximately two and a half hours to control and put out the fire.
They did not hike back out until late Sunday afternoon to make sure the fire was definitely extinguished and that there were no smokes that could ignite, said Keller.
The California Highway Patrol provided Helicopter 20, which Keller rode in to help determine the extent of the fire and the best way for crews to get in.
Keller said that nothing was threatened except for wildland, but the incident needs to be taken as a heads up for fire safety now that fire season has arrived.
“We are entering into the fire season,” said Keller. “The conditions are ripe for escape type fires.”
“This is certainly the first significant fire in the area this season. It is an indicator that fuels are drying on slopes where snow is melting. The message is it is time to be careful. Surrounding grasses, pine needles and leaf litter will carry fire,” said Keller.
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