Air tanker drops fire retardant on Nevada resort
RENO, Nev. (AP) – An air tanker pilot was forced to drop a load of fire retardant on an upscale northern Nevada resort after one of the plane’s engines failed while en route to a California forest fire.
Much of the 3,000 gallons of the gooey, red-colored mixture of chemicals fell Saturday night on buildings, more than 100 vehicles and some guests at David Walley’s Resort and Spa near Genoa, fire officials said.
The plane was able to land safely at its home base in Chester, Calif., and there were no injuries to either the pilot or guests.
Damage was expected to be minimal because firefighters arrived quickly to wash cars and clean buildings at the busy resort, said Randy Scurry of the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center in Minden.
The retardant could have damaged car paint had it sat there longer, he said. A few convertibles with tops down may need repairs, but their owners can file claims for damages, he added.
”It’s an unfortunate incident,” Scurry said. ”We are happy that the air tanker returned to (its) base safely, and are doing everything we can to deal with the situation and clean up the area.”
Guests were quickly notified of the 6:30 p.m. incident. About 20 firefighters washed cars until late Saturday night, said Walley’s spokeswoman Melissa Scott.
”Everybody was understanding and realized it was an accident,” she said. ”I guess there’s no way you can come out to Walley’s and not have excitement.”
The resort, located along the eastern base of the Sierra 60 miles south of Reno, features time-share units, a restaurant and hot springs.
The air tanker had just reloaded with retardant at a base in nearby Minden and was en route to the then-150-acre Star Fire 25 miles west of Lake Tahoe. The blaze near Georgetown, Calif., had grown to more than 3,000 acres by Sunday evening.
High winds helped to disperse the retardant as it fell to the ground, Scurry said.
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