Children with matches started Granite fire, official says
July 15, 2009
Two boys playing with matches and a lighter are the culprits in starting the Granite Way fire that rattled Topaz Ranch Estates on Monday afternoon.
Fire investigator Terry Taylor said he determined the fire that drew firefighters from all over Western Nevada and Eastern California was set by the boys.
A full-court press by firefighters, including a heavy air tanker and helicopter, kept the fire to 20 acres. No structures were damaged and no one was injured during the fire.
The fire was first reported at 2:42 p.m. about 50 feet behind 3660 Granite Way. Callers said flames were taller than the telephone poles.
The fire headed up Gold Hill, which separates Topaz Ranch Estates and Holbrook Junction, cresting the ridge before it was stopped.
Taylor said a neighbor on a tractor cut a fire line on the fire’s north flank that stopped the fire from reaching up to eight houses.
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Occupants of four homes in the path of the fire evacuated voluntarily. Douglas County used its reverse 911 system to contact homes in the area.
The call for evacuations was canceled about 4:30 p.m. as firefighters got the upper hand.
Firefighters from Lyon and Mono counties joined East Fork firefighters and the aircraft in suppressing the blaze.
While highways 395 and 208 remained open for most of the fire, many roads in western Topaz Ranch Estates were closed to make way for fire equipment.
Engines from as far away as Sparks were on their way to aid the effort when they were turned around.
By 5 p.m. the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch was reporting there were no active flames.
A heavy air tanker responded to the fire from Stead, along with a Nevada Division of Forestry helicopter from Minden.
Sgt. Jim Halsey of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said an investigation revealed that the boys didn’t intend to set the brush fire.
“The brothers and their parents will not be held criminally liable,” Halsey said. “The brothers have no prior criminal history or contact with law enforcement or the juvenile justice system.”