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Fire at a glance (numbers)

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Virginia Mountains Complex (2 fires), Carson City District Office, BLM. Forty miles north of Reno, NV. Brush and short grass.

August 4, 2016 at 7:49 PM

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe news release: Major firefighting operations at Pyramid Lake have ceased, and the lake is now open to the public for recreational use. Tribal permits will be now issued for visitors to Pyramid Lake starting Friday August 5th. To purchase a Tribal permit online or for additional information about Pyramid Lake please visit www.pyramidlake.us.

Visitors to Pyramid Lake this weekend are advised that firefighting activities may continue on the reservation to fight the wildfires of the Virginia Mountain Complex. The public is advised to stay out of the way of responding crews in the Sutcliffe area and at Pyramid Lake.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe would like to extend its appreciation to all the Tribal, Federal, State and Local agencies who have responded to this disaster. The Tribe would also like to Thank the entire Northern Nevada community for its tremendous outpouring of support of all of the volunteers and donations to the Tribe.

August 3, 2016 at 9:52 PM

Fire behavior was subdued today thanks to slightly higher humidity and slightly lower temperatures across the area. Firefighters took advantage of the conditions to build direct fireline, meaning that they work directly adjacent to the fire’s active perimeter to achieve containment. They also built indirect fireline between the Adobe Springs Road and the Fish Springs Road using dozers and handcrews. This indirect line is about two miles north from the Anderson Fire and about three miles north of the Tule Fire and will serve as a contingency fireline. Between the current fire edges and the contingency line, the wildland fuels are thick and continuous, making suppression difficult and potentially dangerous.

Natural barriers and road systems are being used wherever possible to contain the fire perimeter and limit suppression scars on the landscape. Additionally, rehabilitation work is beginning on dozer lines created for containment on portions of the fireline that managers are confident are fully secured by firefighters.

Minimal aircraft support was necessary on the fire today. Engines and handcrews continued to secure portions of the fire perimeter on the east flank of the Anderson Fire and the west flank of the Tule Fire, further reducing the threat to vital sage-grouse and ungulate habitat in the Spanish Flat area. The potential for impact to private property and infrastructure in Fish Springs and Cottonwood Creek has diminished thanks to hard work by firefighters and less severe weather conditions.

August 3, 2016 at 8:29 AM

Firefighters braced for the predicted Red Flag weather conditions yesterday and took preemptive actions to minimize impacts to values at risk. Fire crews on the east flank of the Tule Fire conducted a burnout along the south side of Big Canyon before wind speeds increased. The successful burnout operation sent flames uphill towards the main fire, eliminating its fuel source. The fire operations did generate a large column of smoke visible for several miles. Some property damage was incurred, but no residences were destroyed. The Tule Fire is estimated at 30,340 acres. Engines from local cooperators will staff the fire overnight to allow the assigned crews an uninterrupted night’s rest.

The Anderson Fire is currently 16,284 acres. The threat to residences and infrastructure in Fish Springs Valley and Cottonwood Canyon has diminished as firefighters progress towards containing the fire perimeter. The potential for impact to population-dense pockets of sage-grouse habitat in Spanish Flats, Lower Cottonwood Creek, and Sheep Springs has been reduced; however, the possibility still exists. Additional areas of concern include critical winter range for sage-grouse as well as big game ungulates such as California Bighorn Sheep, mule deer, and antelope in the Big Canyon area and north to Adobe Springs.

The Virginia Mountain Complex lent aerial assistance to both Carson City and Winnemucca BLM this afternoon. Fixed-wings and helicopters were used on new fires as well as the previously reported Poodle Fire. There were two intrusions into the restricted flight area today, one by a drone. While flight operations were not suspended, drone interference is becoming a significant issue on wildfires. For the safety of our firefighters, keep drones out of fire zones.

One injury was reported A firefighter required stiches after receiving a laceration to the hand from a fall.

August 2, 2016 at 6:20 PM

Incremental release of resources is likely over the next several days due to challenging fire conditions that exceed resource capabilities. Potential erratic fire behavior due to high winds and low humidity for the Tule and Anderson Fires. Limited to no fire spread expected for the Seven Lakes and Sage Fires.

Anderson – 13,196 acres
Sage – 4,238 acres
Seven Lakes – 3,063 acres
Tule – 27,379 acres

August 1, 2016 at 8:00 PM

Stronger winds and drier air have prompted the incident meteorologist to issue a Red Flag Warning for Tuesday, Aug. 2, for the Virginia Mountain Complex fire area. A Red Flag Warning indicates critical wildland fuel conditions and a high potential for erratic fire behavior and rapid growth. Relative humidity may drop to single digits, and winds of up to 45 miles an hour are possible on ridges. If you are a Twitter user, join @NWSReno and @BLMNv live on Periscope from the fire camp tomorrow at 10:30 AM to learn more about weather and wildland fires

Current Situation: Despite conditions reminiscent of the previous days, fire behavior was less active on Monday, and firefighters made significant progress on the southern portions of the Anderson and Tule Fires. There are no mandatory evacuations in the vicinity; however, residents have been advised to prepare for the possibility under short time frames.

Today, both the Seven Lakes and Sage Fires joined the Rock Fire as fully contained. Minimal resources will remain on the three fires tomorrow to monitor them for potential flare-ups during the Red Flag Warning. They will also begin to rehabilitate suppression actions, including dozer lines. The Anderson Fire is now 13,196 acres and 20% contained, and the Tule Fire is 27,379 acres and at 35% containment. Steep, inaccessible terrain and continuous grass and brush make fire suppression difficult on these fires. Nevertheless, fire engines and handcrews are working tirelessly to protect values at risk in the Virginia Mountains.

Firefighter and public safety remains the highest priority of fire managers. No significant injuries have been reported since the fires began, and there has been no additional structural or property damage since the fire impacted Sutcliffe on Saturday. The incident management team is committed to the protection of private property, infrastructure, cattle and horse forage, and sage grouse habitat.

Aircraft, including the Very Large Airtanker (VLAT), was used again today to assist ground crews. The Pyramid Lake is closed to watercraft to allow the Canadian super scoopers to safely operate, per the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Virginia Mountain Complex also assisted Winnemucca BLM today, sending aircraft to the Poodle Fire for short durations.

August 1, 2016 at 11:29 AM

Dispersed residential structures and out-buildings are threatened. Significant occupied range cattle allotments are dispersed within all fire areas. Priority and general sage-grouse habitat threatened. Critical deer winter habitat threatened. Tule and Anderson fires both exhibited extreme fire behavior including rapid rates of spread both terrain and wind driven.

August 1, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Evacuations are currently in place for residents in Cottonwood Creek and Fish Springs as a result of the Anderson Fire. Additionally, tribal police have a mandatory evacuation for residents in the Big Canyon area, north of Sutcliffe where the Tule Fire has grown. Both fires were pushed rapidly through the tall, dry grasses yesterday afternoon when strong winds hit the fire area. Gusts of up to 30-miles-per-hour were recorded over the fire area, with ridges receiving gusts of up to 40-miles-per-hour. Anderson is now 8,511 acres and Tule is 20,279 acres.

The Rock Fire (2,293 acres) reached 100 percent containment yesterday. Neither the Seven Lakes (3,063 acres) nor the Sage Fire (4,238 acres) showed much activity yesterday. Minimal fire resources will remain on scene of these three fires today to monitor for any potential smoke and take action as necessary. Those resources being released from the three fires will be reallocated to the Anderson and Tule Fires.

Two Canadian Super Scoopers arrived in northern Nevada yesterday to assist with the complex. They will be stationed at Lake Tahoe. The scoopers are particularly effective on the Tule Fire because of the short turnaround to Pyramid Lake for refills. Additional resources, including handcrews, continue to arrive at the Incident Command Post, located east of Doyle, CA.

Nighttime humidity recovery has been poor, causing the fires to burn actively throughout the night. Today’s weather is expected to be very similar today’s. While fire managers hope to lift evacuations as soon as possible, the extremely dry conditions make the fire behavior very erratic. Evacuations will remain in place until the fire perimeter can be secured in the affected areas.

Firefighter and public safety is always the first and highest priority for wildland firefighters. The team will work to protect private property and infrastructure, as well as vegetation highly-valued cattle and horse forage. Another priority for the fire managers is minimizing impacts to sagebrush that is considered priority sage-grouse habitat. Sage-grouse depend on old growth sagebrush for successful brood-rearing and are heavily impacted by landscape-level wildfires.

July 31, 2016 at 6:44 PM 

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe: Active Operations Underway, Pyramid Lake Closed

Fire crews remain on the scene to extinguish hot spots and to protect homes in the Sutcliffe area and the reservation from further damage. Although no structures are threatened on the reservation, active operations continue at Pyramid Lake to fight the Tule fire and other fires in Virginia Mountains Complex.

Pyramid Lake remains closed to boating, recreation, camping and all beaches are closed to the public while firefighting operations continue. Tribal permits will not be issued until further notice; the public is advised to stay away from the lake and to not come out to look at the disaster.

All State highways on the reservation have been reopened, and only local traffic is permitted in the Sutcliffe area. Residents have been allowed to check in on their homes and property but ongoing disaster crews remain on the scene to prevent further damage. The power remains out in Sutcliffe, as a result the water and sewer systems in the community are also out of service. The power is estimated to be out in Sutcliffe for possibly the next 3 days, the Tribe continues to work with NV Energy and local agencies to restore all services as soon as possible.

All visitors to Pyramid Lake and anyone not involved with the firefighting or the recovery effort are advised to STAY AWAY from the area. The Tribe will provide additional updates and information as they become available.

For the latest updates, follow the Tribe on Twitter at www.twitter.com/plpt and
on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pyramidlakepaiutetribe. For emergencies call 9-1-1.

July 31, 2016 at 5:49 PM

Photo courtesy BLM Nevada

The Anderson Fire is running to the north. Beginning evacuations in Cottonwood Creek and Fish Springs.

July 31, 2016 at 3:11 PM

The Virginia Mountains Complex is composed of four separate wildland fires, including the Anderson (8,511 acres), Sage (4,238 acres), Seven Lakes (3,063 acres), and Tule (20,279 acres) Fires.

July 31, 2016 at 2:56 PM

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe: Due to the hard work of area fire crews and changing wind patterns, the Tule wildfire has moved away from the Sutcliffe area and is no longer a threat to populated areas on the reservation. Fire crews remain on the scene to extinguish hot spots and to protect homes in the Sutcliffe area from further damage.

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At this time, the Tribe can confirm the following damage in the Sutcliffe area; 1 home, 3 mobile homes, 2 vehicles, 6 structures at the unoccupied Hardscrabble Ranch and several outbuildings have all have been destroyed by this wildfire. An assessment is currently being performed to determine a more specific number of the outbuildings that have been destroyed.

The Tule wildfire has also burned large areas on the west side of Pyramid Lake. As a result of this damage, Pyramid Lake remains closed to recreation and all beaches are closed to the public. Tribal permits will not be issued until further notice; the public is advised to stay away the lake.

The power remains out in Sutcliffe, as a result the water and sewer systems in the community are also out of service. The power is estimated to be out in Sutcliffe for possibly the next 3 days, the Tribe is working with NV Energy and local agencies to restore all services as soon as possible. The Tribal Council of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe has made a declaration of a disaster for the reservation and is working with Federal & State agencies on the recovery efforts from the Tule wildfire.

All State highways on the reservation have been reopened, and only local traffic is permitted in the Sutcliffe area. All visitors to Pyramid Lake and anyone not involved with the recovery effort is advised to STAY AWAY from the area. The Tribe will provide additional updates and information as they become available.

July 31, 2016 at 1:09 PM

Tule Fire Update: Roads are back open and local traffic allowed in Sutcliffe. Pyramid Lake is closed today. No permits will be issued.

July 31, 2016 at 9:33 AM

The Virginia Mountains Complex is made up currently of four separate wildland fires, including the Anderson (5626 acres), Sage (4239 acres), Seven Lakes (3063 acres) and Tule (7267 acres) Fires.

The Tule & Anderson Fires have shown extreme fire behavior for the past two-days, with the Tule Fire burning onto the Pyramid Lake Reservation and into the western side of the town Sutcliffe. One residential structure, three mobile homes and six structures within the historic (yet unoccupied) Hardscrabble Ranch have been burned by the Tule Fire. Structure protection engines remain in place.

July 30, 2016 at 8:25 PM

The Tule Fire is the largest in the complex. It was mapped at 7,267 acres this afternoon prior to making a large run which prompted the evacuation of Sutcliffe by Tribal Police. It is estimated at 18,000. No residences have been reported as lost today; however, six structures from the Hardscrabble Ranch were lost on Friday. The Ranch has been unoccupied for several years but was valued as an historic landmark. Large areas of juniper, a very volatile wildland fuel, are contributing to the high rates of spread and large growth.

The Rock and Seven Lakes Fires currently pose minimal concerns to fire managers. Firefighters were successful in limiting spread of both fires yesterday and today despite windy and dry conditions. Several resources assigned to these fires will transition to other fires within the complex. Two engines will remain on Rock, which is 80% contained, tomorrow to monitor for any flare-ups.

Anderson Fire

The Sage Fire and Anderson Fire have burned together near the Winnemucca Ranch Road. The southwest edge of the Sage Fire perimeter is holding, allowing fire resources to focus more on the Anderson Fire. The Anderson Fire is burning in very steep, rugged terrain, making suppression actions difficult for firefighters. Both helicopters and airtankers were used throughout the day on the Anderson and Tule Fires.

Firefighter and public safety is always the first and highest priority for wildland firefighters. The team will work to protect private property and infrastructure, as well as vegetation highly-valued cattle and horse forage. Another priority for the fire managers is minimizing impacts to sagebrush that is considered priority sage-grouse habitat. Sage-grouse depend on old growth sagebrush for successful brood-rearing and are heavily impacted by landscape-level wildfires.

Closures: There are currently no area closures associated with the Virginia Mountain Complex. Residents and visitors should be advised of increased traffic in and around the fire area as well as the camp located east of Doyle, California. Evacuations in the Sutcliffe area are being conducted by Tribal Police.

July 30, 2016 at 3:57 PM

The Virginia Mountains Complex is made up currently of four separate wildland fires, including the Anderson, Sage, Seven Lakes and Tule Fires. All of these lightning-caused fires are burning within about 20-miles of each other in an arc about 35-miles north of Reno, Nevada. The vast majority of the public lands burning are administered by the Bureau of Land Management-Carson City District.

The entire complex is currently being managed by Tim Roide’s Type II Incident Management Team.

Potential erratic fire behavior due to high winds, low humidity. Acreage figures above are based on 7/29 projections and are anticipated to rise significantly by the time of the next report from the incident.

July 30, 2016 at 9:49 AM

Photo courtesy Truckee Meadows Fire

Last night, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Chief Charlie Moore said that incident command for the Rock Fire and Virginia Mountains Complex fire will be shifted to the Type 2 Overhead Management Team at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

“The scale and complexity of this fire requires that we transfer this to the Type 2 team so that regional resources can be released to their home jurisdiction,” Moore said.

The Rock Fire remains at 50 percent contained. There is no containment on the Virginia Mountains Complex.

No structures are being threatened at this time, but TMFPD crews will monitor activity near homes as a safety precaution.

Sage Fire 0% at 1000 acres, Tule and Seven Lakes 10% at 5350 acres.