Lightening sparks fire at Kingsbury Grade |

Lightening sparks fire at Kingsbury Grade

Emily Aughinbaugh, Tribune staff writer

Lightning sparked fire Thursday afternoon on a ridge located on the valley side of Kingsbury Grade.

Nevada Division of Forestry dispatch said the fire enveloped 1 1/4 acres of land and was contained by the early evening hours on Thursday. NDF sent a hand crew, three fire engines and a helicopter.

Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District was first to respond to the call at 3 p.m.

Fire Capt. Rich Nalder said the blaze, located about 3 miles down the grade, threatened no structures. He said rain helped the firefighters, who had to hike to the flame-engulfed area.

“(The rain) knocked down the lighter fuels,” he said, “but the heavier fuels will continue to burn.”

James Silverstone, dispatcher for the Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin unit, said the Forest Service sent a 20-man hand crew to aid in the fire containment.

“They have a handle on it,” Silverstone said early Thursday evening. “It’s not growing.”

Bob Nester, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the South Lake Tahoe area reported heavy rain and 1/2-inch diameter hail.

“There were thunderstorms all over the place,” Nester said. “Rainfall varied around the state. There were isolated areas that received as much as an inch.”

Nester said thunderstorms will continue through the weekend, with temperatures in the low 90s, but he could not predict next week’s storm pattern.

Despite the myriad lightning reports around Meyers and South Shore, Sierra Pacific Power Company received no reports of power outages.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” said Gary Evans, operations manager for Sierra Pacific. “Everybody receives a little dip, but there have been no outages.”

Evans said the transmission lines are like residential breaker boxes. If a line is struck by lightning, the breaker is closed and the power company simply has to turn it back on.

Evans said only one transformer was hit by lightning this week in the Tahoe Keys area. About 50 customers were out of power for about two hours on Tuesday.

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