Fire is under control |

Fire is under control

Karl Horeis

With more than 600 firefighters released and rehabilitation under way, authorities said Sunday residents are less threatened by the Waterfall fire above Carson City.

It is expected to be 95 percent contained by 8 p.m. tonight and fully contained by midnight.

Red Cross spokeswoman and Carson City resident Donna Brand woke Sunday morning to see rain falling on the mountains. A double rainbow curved into Kings Canyon.

“That was really good to see,” she said. “It was hopeful.”

Firefighters have the fire contained on all fronts except the west, where they are doing back burns to cut off the 7,566-acre fire.

“The smoke that’s seen today is basically from our own operations – from back fires that we started,” said fire information officer Diane Minutilli on Sunday afternoon.

The fire burned out of control on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, when it destroyed 15 homes in Kings Canyon, Timberline and South Carson.

Hot Shot crews high on the mountain have been able to contain the blaze despite increased winds Saturday night and Sunday morning.

“All the lines that we had built held,” Minutilli said. “Nothing spotted over the lines.”

The Flume Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail opened Sunday evening at 5 p.m.

Off-highway vehicles have been outlawed in the burn area by the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest. This will reduce erosion and give rehabilitation workers time to undo new bulldozer tracks before they become new trails for riders.

Gov. Kenny Guinn will speak at a 1:30 press conference at the Carson City Community Center today – the last of planned media briefings on the Waterfall fire.

Military helicopters were released Sunday at 1 p.m., leaving four helicopters to supply hand crews on the mountain. The national Type 1 fire management team expects to leave the area Wednesday.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is being led by the U.S. Forest Service. Participating agencies include the Carson City sheriff’s and fire departments, Division of Forestry and Bureau of Land Management.

Authorities have expanded the dates they are looking for witness information from to July 10 through 14. Because the valley above the falls is not visible to residents below, authorities say the fire could have smoldered for days before being reported Wednesday morning.

The area where the fire appears to have started was gated.

“The area was not accessible to vehicles, so kids were not going to be driving their cars up there and partying,” said Sheriff Kenny Furlong.

His office has also looked at whether homeless people asked to leave the Carson River last week may have caused the fire after moving there.

“It does not appear that any of them relocated to that area,” Furlong said. “I’m confident of that.”

Anyone with information should call Secret Witness at 322-4900.

People are reminded to call 911 if they see any flareups.

The public is asked to stay out of the burned area. Tree trunks continue to burn underground, scorched trees fall over without warning and rocks tumble from disrupted slopes.

“There are a lot of dangers out there,” Minutilli said.

Drivers are asked to watch for deer who may be crossing Highway 395 north of the Lakeview neighborhood.

– Contact Karl Horeis at or 881-1219.

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