ELKO – Two volunteer firefighters were injured when their vehicle was burned over in the Corta Fire south of Jiggs, and the Elko County Fire Protection District is advising people to stay away from the area.
The incident occurred during the initial attack on Sunday, shortly after the blaze was started by lightning.
“One firefighter was evaluated and released back to duty; the other was evaluated and transported to the University of Utah Trauma Center in Salt Lake City for further evaluation,” stated the fire district. “He has since been released, is home and is doing well.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters, their families and the entire community,” said Rob Stokes, Elko County Manager.
“The safety and protection of our responders and the public is our highest priority when responding to fires. Our thoughts and prayers of recovery are with our injured firefighters,” added Linda Bingaman, Elko County Fire Administrator.
The fire continued to be fought Wednesday by more than 300 personnel and multiple aircraft.
“If you do not need to be in the area, please stay away for your safety and allow the fire service personnel to focus on suppressing the fire,” stated the fire district.
Those on the scene are also working with ranchers to move their cattle from federal allotments.
The Corta Fire has burned 16,862 acres and was 10 percent contained as of Wednesday morning.
The fire was held to Green Mountain Creek on Tuesday when crews burned out the northeast flank. No structures are immediately threatened.
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“We were able to get a lot of air and ground resources on the fire yesterday,” said Incident Commander Tyler Hecht. “Ground crews and aircraft made good progress on all flanks of the fire, but rough terrain is making the progress slow.”
Harrison Pass Road remains closed. The road provides the most direct access to the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge from Elko.
Access to the south end of the Ruby Crest Trail is threatened and the public is advised to avoid the area. The trail extends about 35 miles from the top of Lamoille Canyon to Green Mountain.
A total of 325 personnel were fighting the Corta fire on Wednesday, including five large air tankers and one very large air tanker.
Two other large fires were burning in Elko County.
The Goose Fire, in extreme northeastern Elko County, has blackened approximately 8,500 acres and is still only 5 percent contained. There are 130 personnel on the scene. The fire is burning in steep terrain. Containment efforts are focusing on the Nevada side of the Idaho border.
Shafter Fire, south of Interstate 80 in eastern Elko County, has burned approximately 6,618 acres and is 25 percent contained. There are 158 personnel on the scene. Minimal fire growth is expected. Hand crews will continue direct line construction on the west flank while engines work the flanks.
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag warning through 9 p.m. Thursday for dry thunderstorms and gusty outflow winds.
“Dry lightning may create new fire starts and combine with strong outflow winds to produce rapid fire growth,” stated the warning.