Wtinesses Sought in Robb Fire Probe

Wildfire the 2003 Season
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State and federal investigators asked for the public's help again Thursday in finding witnesses who saw the start of a wildfire that burned 2,200 acres on the edge of Reno last week.

They're especially interested in two young men who were driving a blue car in the area when the Robb fire broke out about 5:45 p.m. July 14 in the foothills near Robb High School.

The two initially reported the fire to a local resident, officials for the Nevada Division of Forestry and U.S. Forest Service said.

"We're not accusing the people in the blue car of being suspects. All we know is they reported the fire and seemed very excited,"said Deb Mathews, a law enforcement agent for the Forest Service in Nevada.

The fire that burned dangerously close to dozens of homes was human caused, but investigators have refused to disclose how they think it started.

"We can't really divulge some of the information because it is still under investigation,"Mathews said.

"There were a lot of people in that area because it was so close to homes. We are hoping some witnesses will come forward and help us,"she said.

The fire broke out at the north end of Robb Drive in northwest Reno just four miles from downtown.

The Nevada Division of Forestry has determined the blaze started on private land just outside the Reno city limits, burning north and east up Peavine Mountain on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, and back onto land within Reno's limit, Mathews said.

About 83 percent of the 2,196 acres burned was Forest Service land, she said.

Three people seen in the area were questioned by Reno authorities after the fire, but were cleared, she said.