Late this morning, hours after the fire was out, investigators were still on the scene nailing down the cause, but this fire had already given them a problem to solve. When two engines from the Nevada Division of Forestry hooked up to hydrants...those hydrants...in fact the whole system suddenly shut down. It turns out that's exactly what it was supposed to do.
Paul Orphan, Department of Water Resources, says "It worked as
The system has an automatic shutoff when a draw exceeds 3-thousand gallons a minute...twice the expected requirement." It's there to make sure the system's tanks don't drain in case of an earthquake or some huge line failure. No one expected it to get in the way of firefighters.
Rich Riolo, Nevada Division of Forestry, says "It was quite an eye opener." And it's now a matter of no small concern."
This is a wildfire prone area. In 2000 a big fire roared across this hillside. It was all firefighters could do then to save the homes in its path. A lot of homes have been built here since and a replay without access to a lot of water is something firefighters would rather not consider. No one is arguing with the need for the automatic shutoff, but some adjustment is now in order.
Riolo, says "we've got to come up with a reasonable amount of water.
And they need to make that adjustment as soon as they can, not just in Arrowcreek...other neighborhoods have the same automatic shutoff."