Local crews battle Carson City blaze
July 15, 2004
Michael Terwilliger just fought one of the most difficult fires in his 33 years working wildland blazes – the out-of-control Waterfall Fire in Carson City.”For somebody who has been doing it for a long time, it was really challenging,” the Truckee Fire Protection District chief said Thursday. “It was pretty doggone wild.”
The Waterfall Fire was first reported at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning in the King Canyon area and burned along Carson City’s wooded west side.The job was complicated by rugged terrain and high wind gusts, Terwilliger said. The flames threatened hundreds of homes and several businesses in Carson City. Nine homes and two businesses have burned.”We probably had 500 to 600 homes impacted by fire,” Terwilliger said, adding that several hundred residents were put on mandatory evacuation. “Some people refused to leave.”
Local crews were among some 850 firefighters working the blaze. Along with Terwilliger, Truckee Fire Protection District sent two captains to Carson City at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The captains led strike teams of five engines each.Northstar Fire Department sent one engine with three firefighters, and departments around North Tahoe sent crews.
On Thursday afternoon local crews were still battling the Waterfall Fire, which stood at 8,500 acres at the Sierra Sun press time.Without the cooperation of so many agencies, the destruction could have been a lot worse, Terwilliger said.”Basically what I saw was every fire department from Donner Summit to Gardnerville to east of Fallon – about 40 agencies – working together,” he said. “Ten house burned, but hundreds of house were saved. They did a really good job. I’m real proud.”