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Baptism by Fire
July 3, 2012

In its second day of operations, Truckee Meadows Firefighters have combated two significant fires in the area. Initially reported by a Truckee Meadows Battalion Chief, the Pinehaven Fire- a fire starting above the Caughlin Ranch area- prompted response by six Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) brush engines to assist in that suppression effort. Shortly after 7pm, as Truckee Meadows resources were being released from the Pinehaven Fire, TMFPD received a simultaneous report of a brush fire in Palomino Valley.

The Palomino Valley fire was dispatched at 7:02pm and was reported to be approximately 20x30 feet in size. On responding, however, crews noticed a significant amount of smoke, and called for more assistance.

The fire burned around and very near seven structures, requiring 80 firefighters and two single engine aircraft tankers, previously released from the Pinehaven Fire, to quickly respond to the blaze. No structures were damaged, and crews praised property owners for their defensible space efforts. There were no reports of injury to either firefighters or residents, and no livestock were reported lost to the fire.

Chief Charles Moore, Fire Chief for Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District said, "We worked well into the early morning hours to prevent this fire from jumping a ridge and threatening even more homes. I am very proud of the hard work of our mutual aid partners from around the region: The Bureau of Land Management, Carson City, the City of Sparks, East Fork Fire Protection District, the Nevada Division of Forestry, the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, North Lyon County, the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, the United States Forest Service, the Washoe County Sheriff, Nevada Highway Patrol, Washoe County Animal Control, Washoe County Search and Rescue, NV Energy, Palomino GID and the TMFPD career and volunteer firefighters that worked most of the night to keep this fire in check."

Resources from the City of Reno were actively engaged with the Pinehaven Fire, and were therefore not requested to send units to assist with the Ironwood Fire.

The fire scorched a total of 640 acres. All resources except those of Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District were released by 6am on July 3, the following morning. By 6am, there was no longer any active fire, but TMFPD crews continue to work on several points in the rugged terrain that cause concern for re-kindle.

Moore added, "We expect full containment of this fire to occur at 6pm this evening. We will keep a patrol unit on the scene for the next 24 hours to observe for any flare ups."

The fire was fought with 23 brush engines and two hand crews, plus aircraft. The cause of the fire appears accidental, and may have been caused by a wheel bearing lost from a passing vehicle.

Citizens are reminded of the extreme fire danger in the region, and are asked to avoid any and all activities that may create a fire risk, including no fireworks, no outdoor open fires, and are asked to exercise extreme caution with any equipment that may create a spark.

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Pinehaven Fire
July 3, 2012

July 2, 2012, At approximately 12:15 p.m., the Reno Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a vehicle on fire in the foothills by a dirt road near Pinehaven Road.

Upon arriving on scene, the Reno Fire Department upgraded to a brush fire, sending additional fire resources. With the fire in a location where several jurisdictional boundaries meet, Reno Fire Battalion Chief Leighton notified neighboring agencies that the fire could be threatening their jurisdictions. The Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Battalion Chief ordered additional fire resources to respond. In addition, the United States Forest Service began sending their assets.

A unified command was established between the Reno Fire Department and the United States Forest Service due to the fact the fire was burning in both their jurisdictions.

A Nevada Division of Forestry helicopter and two single engine air tankers helped crews battle the blaze in the steep, heavy timbered and brush terrain. Hand-crews from Diamond Mountain, Stewart, and the Nevada Division of Forestry aided in the fire attack.

As of 8:15 p.m., the Reno Fire Department Incident Commander Leighton advised, “The southwest flank of the fire is still active; however, the winds have shifted and the fire is blowing back into itself.”

More than 150 firefighters are on scene and will remain through the night. No estimate on time of containment has been established. A Sierra Front Type 3 Incident Management Team will assume command of fire operations beginning at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 3. Caughlin Ranch Elementary School has been set up as the incident command post

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