ELKO – Fire to the east, fire to the west. Two lightning-sparked fires on either side of Elko burned 25,000 acres each and posed potential threats to structures.
More than 240 personnel were fighting the Tabor Flats Fire one mile north of Interstate 80 and 18 miles west of Wells.
As of noon Tuesday the fire was 75 percent contained.
“The fire is creeping, smoldering and is burning in brush and tall grass,” reported the Bureau of Land Mangement. “If the fire makes a run to either the west or the east, it could threaten multiple residences.”
“We have diverted a lot of resources and personnel to the Tabor Flats Fire” said Carrie Thaler, incident commander. “Our major objective today is to coordinate all of our incoming resources and work on securing the fire’s edge to protect the nearby residences.”
Another fire in the Rooster’s Comb range near Izzenhood Ranch burned 25,000 acres after being started Sunday by lightning. Sixteen smokejumpers and four federal engines made the initial response to the blaze.
That force quickly grew to more than 200 personnel.
“Very active and extreme fire behavior is causing a large smoke plume and visible from Battle Mountain, Elko and Interstate 80,” stated the BLM. “Strong winds have been pushing the fire east and threatening ranches, mining and power station infrastructure and sage grouse habitat.”
The fire was listed at 15 percent contained Tuesday.
Other fires affected traffic on Interstate 80, including a a 25-mile stretch of highway crossing the Nevada-California border.
The California Highway Patrol closed the eastbound Interstate 80 Tuesday morning near the town of Truckee as high winds drove a wildfire within 15 feet of the highway. Nevada troopers closed the highway’s westbound lanes near Verdi.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Peter Mann did not know when the highway winding north of Lake Tahoe would be reopened. He says the fire is burning in a remote area but has caused some rocks to fall. No injuries were reported.
In Elko, a fire along Interstate 80 on the east end of town temporarily stopped eastbound traffic on the freeway Tuesday morning.
The fire was reported shortly before 11 a.m. east of Zaga Way.