Firefighters Conquer Wildland Fires Near Carson, Reno

Fire crews watched the skies as they worked toward mopup on Thursday of a wildland fire that blackened 429 acres around an industrial park east of Carson City.

"Today will be about reinforcing lines, cleanup and getting ready for the next one," fire spokesman Mark Struble said. "We're just resting and retooling our folks."

Forecasters were calling for a chance of thunderstorms through the weekend.

Wednesday's fire was not sparked by lightning, but was caused by
an excavator moving rocks in an industrial park and spread quickly,
fanned by gusty winds.

Earlier estimates that placed the acreage at 850 acres were downgraded with better aerial mapping in the daylight, Struble said.

The two highways linking U.S. 50 east with the Comstock reopened
after being closed because of smoke and a clog of fire equipment. A
handful of homes and industrial buildings were threatened, but there were no evacuations.

"This fire has been exhibiting behavior normally seen in August due to dry conditions and erratic winds," Struble said.

"The winds were throwing firefighters for a loop by continuing to shift 180 degrees in direction," he added.

Demobilization began at noontime on Thursday for more than 230 people who fought the flames in brush and cheat grass, aided by two
air tankers.

The crews were hampered by the rugged, rocky terrain and the possibility of encountering hidden mine shafts dating back more than a century ago.

North of Reno, a band of thunderstorms sparked 11 minor fires on either side of U.S. 395 near the California line, the largest measuring 15 acres.

"We caught all of those," Struble said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)