Crews look for break in northeastern wildfires |

Crews look for break in northeastern wildfires

Martin Griffith

RENO (AP) – For the first time in three months, firefighters in northeastern Nevada might finally get a chance to catch their breath.

Crews were expected later Sunday to contain the last of two wildfires that have blackened nearly 410 square miles since Sept. 3 around Elko, 290 miles east of Reno.

If they do, it would mark the first time the region has been without an active wildland blaze since June 6, said fire information officer Gina Dingman.

“The fires out here have been constant,” Dingman said Sunday. “We want it to snow.”

The two fires had burned more than 261,000 acres, or 407 square miles, in Lander and Elko counties. A 150,270-acre blaze was contained late Saturday, and a 110,738-acre fire was expected to be fully contained Sunday evening.

Fire officials attributed progress on the fires in part to cooler temperatures and less wind.

“The weather, combined with good management by the individual teams and top-notch work by the crews, is helping us to contain these fires ahead of what we had anticipated,” said Joe Ribar, head of the National Area Command Team.

But officials warned the fire season is far from over.

“We’re expecting drier weather this week,” said Joe Freeland, fire management officer for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Elko district. “The winds will pick up in the afternoon hours. Our fuels are still extremely dry.”

So far this year, the state has lost 1.47 million acres to fire – more than 2,290 square miles, or a land area just shy of the size of Delaware. Most of it has devastated the wildlife-rich northeastern part of Nevada.

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