At 7 p.m. Monday, as Truckee Meadows resources were released from the Pinehaven Fire in Reno, the district received a simultaneous report of a brush fire in Palomino Valley, north of Spanish Springs.
Crews were dispatched shortly after. The fire was reported to be small in size, but crews noticed upon arrival a significant amount of smoke and called emergency dispatch for assistance, according to Truckee Meadows Fire Chief Charles Moore.
“We had a whole host of neutral aid agencies respond,” Moore said. “We had help from across the region.”
Agencies from Storey County, Carson City, Nevada Division of Forestry, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and North Lake Tahoe crews and equipment arrived on scene to assist the small agency.
Reno Fire Department, however, did not.
Moore said, because of the Pinehaven Fire burning near the Caughlin Ranch area of Reno, Reno fire crews were busy with controlling their own incident.
“We didn’t call for help from Reno because they were busy on their own fire,” Moore said. “They had most of their wildland resources up with them.”
The legacy following the divorce of the Washoe County from Reno Fire Department, standing up Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, might have impacted the decision but Moore steered clear of any references to the controversy.
The Palomino Valley Fire burned around and near seven structures, requiring 80 firefighters and two single-engine aircraft tankers, released from the Pinehaven Fire, to respond to the blaze.
As a result of quick response, no structures were damaged. “Crews praised property owners for their defensible pace efforts,” Moore said in a release to the media. “There were no reports of injury to either firefighters or residents, and no livestock were reported lost to the fire.”
Volunteers for Truckee Meadows were called in to fill the stations while full-time fire fighters fought the blaze, Moore said.
Full containment of the 640 acres was expected by Tuesday at 6 p.m. Crews were expected to remain on scene in hot-spot areas to look for flare-ups, according to Sara Tone, spokeswoman for the district.
“We worked well into the early morning hours to prevent this fire from jumping a ridge and threatening even more homes,” Moore said. “I am very proud of the hard work of our mutual aid partners from around the region.”
The district was also aided by the city of Sparks, East Fork Fire Protection District, North Lyon County, Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Highway Patrol, Washoe County Animal Control, Washoe County Search and Rescue, NV Energy and Palomino General Improvement District.
By 6 a.m., no active fire remained. Crews continued to work on several areas in the rugged terrain.
Law enforcement patrol is expected to remain on scene for the next 24 hours to observe the area for flare-ups, Moore said.
The fire was fought with 23 brush engines, two hand crews, besides the aircraft.
The cause of the fire appears to be accidental and may have been caused by a wheel bearing lost from a passing vehicle, Moore said.
“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,” Moore said.