Preacher Fire grows to 7,651 acres in Pine Nut Mountains | SierraSun.com

Preacher Fire grows to 7,651 acres in Pine Nut Mountains

Staff Report
editor@sierrasun

Smoke from the Preacher Fire can be seen on Monday, July 24.

More than 400 homes are threatened by a 7,651-acre fire burning in the Pine Nut Mountains east of Gardnerville on Tuesday, July 25.

A firefighter received minor injuries while working on the lightning-caused blaze that was first reported at 3:30 a.m. on Monday, July 24.

An estimated 300 firefighters, including seven 20-member handcrews, 11 airplanes, seven helicopters, a dozen engines, three water tenders and two bulldozers are battling the fire.

“Access is demanding and dangerous for crews due to rough terrain, numerous mineshafts, washed out roads, along with fuel moistures that have hit critical levels and erratic weather,” Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch fire officials said. “Scattered thunderstorms are forecast to continue today with gusty, unpredictable winds and frequent lightning.”

National Weather Service forecasters issued a flash flood watch for eastern Douglas County, including the Pine Nuts due to a chance of monsoonal rains.

“Heavy rain is still possible with thunderstorms over far Western Nevada, however, the main coverage of storms is expected to be focused in the Pine Nut and Virginia Ranges,” forecasters said.

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The weather is expected to dry out on Wednesday, reducing the chance of lightning.

On Tuesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced it would pay up to three-quarters of the recovery costs related to the Preacher Fire.

Nevada submitted a request for a Fire Management Assistance Grant declaration to fund recovery costs for the Preacher Fire burning in Douglas County.

A disaster declaration by Douglas County commissioners has been delayed, as fire officials tracked the fire’s progress on Tuesday.

Burning in grass, sagebrush and scattered piñon-juniper, the fire started within the old Bison Fire scar, but has moved into unburned piñon-juniper.

Late Monday afternoon, wind gusts of nearly 30 mph pushed the fire past retardant lines and towards buffalo Canyon, threatening structures and resulting in evacuations.