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Cause of Poeville 2 Fire undetermined, still under investigation

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 10:48 PM PDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2020 at 12:54 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - UPDATE NOV. 3 12:40 P.M. Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue (TMFR) has concluded its investigation of the Poeville 2 fire that broke out on June 27, 2020, but investigators have not determined the cause.

The previous night, on June 26, 2020, TMFR crews extinguished a vehicle fire that burned 1.4 acres. That fire was accidentally caused by propane powered equipment in the bed of the pickup truck.

The next morning, the Poeville 2 fire ignited near the burn area from the previous night’s fire.

TMFR says witnesses told investigators that a memorial for a longtime area resident was held on Peavine Mountain during that time. Additionally, two people were seen on video on a side-by-side ATV near the origin’s area with the reporting party. Investigators believe those two individuals would have been the first to witness the Poeville 2 Fire.

Video showed that they drove their ATV up the hill near the area of origin and told the reporting party that they had attempted to extinguish the fire. The two left the scene before Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, or TMFR arrived and have not come forward to provide a statement at this time. The person who reported the fire could not identify who the two individuals were.

Fire crews also found a homemade barbecue grill in the same area that fire crews knew was not there the previous night during the first incident. According to video evidence, this barbeque was dropped in the area between 10:14 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., the time of the second incident.

If you have any information, contact TMFR at (775) 326-6000, or Secret Witness at (775) 322-4900.

A separate Bureau of Land Management (BLM) investigation determined the Poeville 2 Fire was a rekindle or restart from the previous night’s fire. However, the TMFR investigation does not support that conclusion.

JULY 2, 4 P.M. The Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District is looking for information related to Saturday’s Poeville Fire.

They are asking anyone who saw anything on Peavine Mountain on June 27, 2020 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to call Deputy Chief Dale Way at 775-326-6005.

The fire burned more than 3,000 acres and destroyed 11 structures. It’s currently 98 percent contained.

Structures burn as the Poeville Fire sweeps down off Peavine Mountain. The structures burned at...
Structures burn as the Poeville Fire sweeps down off Peavine Mountain. The structures burned at North Virginia Street and Lemmon Drive.(Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue)

JULY 2, 11:25 A.M. The Poeville Fire is now 98 percent contained. The Incident Command Team will remain on scene. The public is asked to avoid the area.

JULY 1, 10 A.M. The Poeville Fire which burned 3,010 acres on the east side of Peavine Mountain is now 95 percent contained.

Fire vehicles and equipment will be in the burned area over the next several days. The public is asked to avoid the area while crews continue to contain the fire.

JUNE 30, 3:15 P.M. The Humboldt-Toiyabe Incident Command confirms three more structures burned in last weekend’s Poeville Fire, bringing the total number to 11.

Officials did not say what type of structures they were.

Additionally, the incident command team reminds residents that dust (ash) devils will likely be seen across the burn area, and are nothing to be alarmed about.

The fire remains 70 percent contained after burning more than 3,000 acres.

You can find the latest updates here.

JUNE 30, 11:20 A.M. The U.S. Forest Service has announced that all evacuations have been lifted in the Poeville Fire on the east side of Peavine Mountain.

The fire remains at 3,010 acres and containment has grown to 70%.

While the fire is winding down, there may be hot spots and potential problem areas, so you are asked to stay away from the fire area.

The cause is still under investigation.

JUNE 29, 3:30 P.M. 187 fire personnel remain on the Poeville Fire, but the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest says there has been no change to the fire, which broke out Saturday, June 27, 2020.

The fire remains at 3,000 acres with 30% containment.

JUNE 29, 10:30 A.M. Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest managers report there was no change in the size of the Poeville Fire Sunday night into Monday, June 29, 2020.

The fire remains at 3,000 acres and 30% contained. Fire crews are reinforcing the fire lines and looking for hot spots.

JUNE 28, 5:40 P.M. Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue reports the Poeville Fire on Peavine Mountain is 30 percent contained and holding at 3,000 acres.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A federal fire team is coming in to take over management of the fire and could have additional resources to use on it.

JUNE 28, 3:59 P.M. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office said almost all roads closed by Poeville Fire have reopened.

The roads that remain closed are Heindel Road and Meyers Avenue.

JUNE 28, 12:50 P.M. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office said North Virginia Street between Lemmon Valley Road and Stead Boulevard is closed to northbound traffic.

People who need to reach their homes can go south on North Virginia Street from Stead Boulevard. Returning residents will have to provide an address and identification.

Heindel Road remains closed.

JUNE 28, 12:20 P.M. All evacuations have been lifted on the Poeville Fire on Peavine Mountain except for the areas of Heindel Road and Meyers Avenue.

The fire is now estimated to be 3,000 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

JUNE 28, 11:30 A.M. Evacuations for Horizon Hills will be lifted by noon, authorities said Sunday morning during a press briefing for the Poeville Fire on Peavine Mountain.

People who return should be vigilant and be prepared to leave quickly again if the fire threatens their homes.

There are no estimated times for reopening the Heindel Road area and North Virginia Street between Stead Boulevard and Lemmon Valley Drive.

Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue Chief Charles Moore said winds were strong yesterday to push the fire, now estimated to be 2,500 acres.

“Today’s winds are going to be worse,” Moore said.

Saturday’s erratic winds made it difficult to properly position resources to protect homes, the chief said.

“I’m very, very proud we were able to save lots of structures,” Moore said. “That’s the take away here.”

Flames continued the fire until 4:30 a.m. Sunday, which Moore said is unusual for a fire in June. Flames burning overnight is more typical with August fires.

Forty-five families checked into the emergency shelter but no one had an estimate of the total number of people who evacuated.

The fire started in the same area as a late Friday night fire caused by a car catching fire. Moore doesn’t think that was the cause.

“We’re very confident that that fire was cold,” Moore said. “We have investigated the cause of the (Poeville) Fire and we have found what we believe is a second point of origin. . . . We’re not going to link the car fire at this point.”

They have asked the Bureau of Land Management to also investigate the origin of the fire.

There were no injuries in the fire.

Moore said homeowners can help with firefighting efforts by having defensible space around their homes to keep flames at a distance.

JUNE 28, 9 A.M.: Eight structures burned in the Saturday’s Poeville Fire, Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue reported Sunday morning. The burned buildings include homes and outbuildings like sheds or garages.

The Poeville Fire is estimated to be 3,500 acres. Fire crews have achieved 10 percent containment.

Evacuations remain in effect.

The fire is burning in grass and sage and 250 personnel are assigned to the fire.

The American Red Cross is helping people evacuated from the Poeville Fire.

Evacuees are asked to check in at the Washoe County Senior Services building at 1155 E 9th St,

Lodging assistance is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Red Cross appreciates offers of food, clothing and other goods, but due to COVID-19 restrictions they cannot accept it. They ask people to make a financial contribution at 1-800-REDCROSS or by going to redcross.org

JUNE 27, 8:15 P.M. The evacuation area has been changed.

It now covers all Horizon Hills homes; all businesses north of Lemmon Drive and southwest of U.S. 395; Heindel Road, Myers Avenue and Lunsford Drive; and all of Raleigh Heights

It also includes Beacon Drive, Crest Hill Road, Ruby Mountain Road and a mobile home park west of Golden Valley,

JUNE 27, 7:40 P.M.: The Poeville Fire spread down Peavine Mountain on Saturday and burned into structures in the North Valleys area. The estimated damage was not immediately available.

The fire is estimated to have burned 1,500. There were 250 firefighters from several agencies on hand. Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue is the lead agency.

Crews are expected to be on the fire overnight and likely for several days to knock down and contain the fire. The plan was to attack the fire from the ground and the air until aircraft could no longer fly and for ground crews to work on the fire overnight.

Firefighters asked people not to fly drones in the area because that keeps firefighting aircraft from making drops.

Winds of up to 60 mph pushed the flames on Saturday. Winds are expected to lay down overnight.

NV Energy turned off electricity and gas to North Valleys homes for safety reasons. As of 7:45 p.m., there were 1,735 customers without power.

Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue told people to evacuate if they do not feel safe. They do not have to wait for evacuation requests.

JUNE 27, 6:30 P.M. The Poeville Fire is now estimated to be 1,500 acres.

NV Energy reports electricity and gas remain turned off in the area.

JUNE 27, 6:10 P.M. Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue has called for the evacuation of the area of Hoge Road south to Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, west of Virginia Street.

NV Energy reports the number of customers without power is 2,567 with power for everyone expected to be restored by 8 p.m.

These roads are closed: North Virginia Street and Seneca Drive; South Seneca Drive to Golden Valley Road; Lemmon Drive and North Virginia Street. Heindel Road is open only for evacuations.

JUNE 27, 5:55 P.M. The Poeville Fire has burned an estimated 650 acres, Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue report.

About 250 fire personnel are on the blaze, also including the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

JUNE 27, 4:30 P.M. Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue said structures at the northwest corner of Lemmon Drive and Virginia Street have burned.

They ask people to avoid the area.

JUNE 27, 4:20 P.M.: NV Energy said it turned off power for 3,888 customers in the North Valleys at the request of the fire department. There is no estimated time for power to be restored.

JUNE 27, 3:40 P.M.: Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputies are giving evacuation notices for Seneca, Kiowa, Blackfoot, Chippewa, Dakota, Haida Ct, Sauk, Hopi Lane and Hopi Ct, Mandan Way and Peavine Peak Road.

JUNE 27, 2:55 P.M.: Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue recommends people in the Seneca Drive area evacuate immediately.

JUNE 27, 2:40 P.M. UPDATE: The evacuation center for the Poeville Fire on Peavine Mountain will be the Reno Livestock Events Center at 9th Street and Wells Avenue.

People who evacuate are asked to stay in their vehicles to maintain social distancing. The American Red Cross will provide water and other resources.

JUNE 27, 2:22 P.M. UPDATE: Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue said there is a 3-mile voluntary evacuation area around Seneca Drive off the Golden Valley exit.

It has been dubbed the Poeville Fire. Several agencies are sending ground crews and there are also airdrops on the fire.

JUNE 27, 1:05 P.M. UPDATE: The fire burning near the top of Peavine Mountain has ignited again. Callers to the KOLO 8 newsroom say they got a reverse 9-1-1 call saying voluntary evacuations are recommended for a 3-mile radius from the fire..

Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue spokesman Adam Mayberry said he is heading to the fire and will provide an update later.

JUNE 27, 12:50 P.M. UPDATE: The fire is sending out smoke. Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue spokesman Adam Mayberry described it as wind-caused.

Mayberry said there have been no evacuations.

EARLIER STORY: A fire on Peavine Mountain has been contained at 1.4 acres, Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue reports.

It was caused by a vehicle fire, TMFR said.

The fire was reported about 9:50 p.m.

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