Flyover to assess size, progress in Topaz Ranch Estates fire |

Flyover to assess size, progress in Topaz Ranch Estates fire

Kurt Hildebrand
Photos by Shannon Litz / Nevada AppealA home on Sandstone Drive that burned in the Topaz Ranch Estates fire is seen Wednesday.

Officials will be flying over the Topaz Ranch Estates fire this morning to pin down the size of the blaze and progress made cutting lines around it.

Fire Spokesman Mark Regan said the size of the fire has been revised to 7,500 acres as of this morning. However, he said, that number could change after the flyover. No additional structures were lost on Wednesday or overnight, but containment remains at 15 percent pending the flyover.

The fire started 1:45 p.m. Tuesday in the 1200 block of Slate Road, the same address where an out-of-control burn pile was reported on Sunday morning.

Regan said the cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Nevada Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Land Management and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

He said reports that smoke from the fire affected air quality in Las Vegas are possible.

At a fire briefing this morning, firefighters were warned that forecast high winds will create dangerous conditions today.

Most of their efforts today will be focused on getting lines cut between the fire and homes along the southern and eastern flanks of the fire.

Regan asked that residents not ride up to watch the progress on the fire and that if they’re asked to evacuate they comply.

“They’re going to try and keep it up on the mountain,” he said. “Crews worked all night to improve lines and get more up there.”

High winds are expected to interfere with air operations later today.

While rain remains in the forecast for Friday, firefighters were told this morning not to count on it.

Sgt. Jim Halsey said he estimated the fire was less than a mile from Upper Colony Road in Smith Valley on Wednesday. Lyon County Emergency Management Coordinator Rob Loveberg said strike teams of engines are ready should the fire make a run toward homes at the mouth of Rickey Canyon.

Douglas County officials estimated the cost of the fire at $1 million. Regan said the official report was $692,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.

As of this morning, 575 firefighters, in the form of a dozen handcrews, 26 engines and five helicopters are working the fire.

Voluntary evacuations have been lifted, but could be implemented if downslope winds drive the fire into Topaz Ranch Estates or Smith Valley. No roads are closed this morning, but motorists should watch out for fire vehicles entering Highway 208 at Albite Road.

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