4,400 Acres, 2 Homes and 17 Outbuildings Lost in Topaz Fire

On Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012, at approximately 2:10 pm, firefighters of the East Fork Fire and Paramedics Districts were dispatched to a possible wildland fire in the vicinity of Slate Rd and Pinenut Rd, in the residential area of Topaz Ranch Estates in South Douglas County.

Upon arrival, firefighters discovered an approximately 5-10 acre fire rapidly expanding in the area. Due to the rapid expansion of the fire caused by strong afternoon winds, an Emergency Unified Command was quickly established.

Initial investigation reveals the fire may have been caused by a controlled burn from a previous day that was extinguished, but somehow rekindled.

Approximately 450 firefighters have responded from the agencies of East Fire and Paramedic Districts, Tahoe-Douglas Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Division of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, Carson City, Lyon County, Mono County, Alpine County, and Reno-Truckee Fire.

The fire is being fought via air and ground. The following resources are in use:

– 3 fixed wing aircraft (an additional 5 have been requested)

– 3 helicopters (and additional 2 have been requested)

– 20 Brush Engines

– 9 Type-I Engines

– 4 Bulldozers

– 13 Hand Crews (consisting of approx. 20-25 firefighters each)

Approximately 2,200 acres and 7 houses have burned. No loss of human life has been reported or discovered. Firefighters are working hard to establish containment on the fire.

The fire is currently burning in a northeasterly direction in the hills behind the Topaz Ranch Estates residential area. Fire crews are using bulldozers and hand crews to cut a fire break between the fire and the homes in the area along Sandstone Dr.

Due to the volatile nature of the fire, voluntary evacuations of residents have been requested. A temporary evacuation shelter has been established at the Topaz Ranch Estates Community Center at the end of Carter Drive in the Topaz Ranch Estates residential area.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies and Search and Rescue Members are available to assist with resident evacuations if needed. Persons needing this type of assistance should call Douglas County Emergency Operations Center at 775-782-5126.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse Members are on scene to assist with large animal evacuations, and Douglas County Animal Control is available for small animal evacuations. Persons needing this type of assistance should call the local American Red Cross at 775-856-1000 and units will be dispatched.

It should be noted that the helicopter-borne firefighting crews are obtaining water for their air drops from Topaz Lake, so boaters on the lake should stay cognizant and out of the way of this activity.