Help from above pounds down Six Mile fire |

Help from above pounds down Six Mile fire

Jarid Shipley
Chad Lundquist / Nevada Appeal / One of two helicopters used to combat the Six Mile Canyon fire picks up some water to drench areas inaccessible to hand crews.

Calm skies and strong air support helped firefighters knock down flames Sunday, but not before the Six Mile fire scorched a total of 1,500 acres.

Personnel continued to work on containment, hit hot spots, and build containment lines, including one crew of firefighters from North Carolina.

“It’s just thrilling to be on the lines,” said Frank Stroud, of Laurinburg, N.C. “I took up firefighting with the U.S. Forest Service when I was in Job Corps, and it has become my dream job.”

The North Carolina crew was working to keep the fire contained near Sugarloaf Mountain, but the flames weren’t the only hindrance to their work.

Just after beginning to create a fire line, the crew encountered a nest of yellow jackets, causing the line to scatter and resulting in multiple stings. One member of the team was taken to medical help, but he returned to the line.

“The local guys told us there’s a lot of mine holes and even some old dynamite spread around, not to mention the rattlesnakes,” Stroud said.

Multi-agency structure protection was established in the Virginia Highlands and Mark Twain. There is still a potential threat to 200 residences and 50 outbuildings; however, no structures are immediately threatened, and no evacuations are anticipated.

Storey County Fire Prevention Officer Eric Guevin said that repeated air attacks from several helicopters helped shackle the flames and severely slowed the fire’s progress.

“The fire is laying down since we started aggressively using air attacks. With that and the crews getting flanking positions, it is helping tremendously,” Guevin said.

While the fire is only officially listed as 5 percent contained, crews expect that number to be increased if the winds remained calm Sunday evening.

A Type I Great Basin Incident Management Team took over command of the fire at 6 p.m. Sunday. The team was reassigned from last week’s Jackass fire and established a command post at Dayton High School.

More than 350 personnel from Storey and Lyon counties, Carson City, South Lake Tahoe, Nevada Division of Forestry, Sierra Fire Protection District, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service assisted in battling the fire.

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