Wildfire threatens school, residences in Mesquite during high winds

UPDATE Sunday: Chief Hunt said the fire would probably be contained by Sunday afternoon. “I can tell you when we left there last night it had really put itself to bed. The winds moderated, the relative humidity came up…they’re probably going to be able to get around (the fire) pretty good.”

MESQUITE, Nev. — Multiple agencies joined forces to contain a brush fire headed for a middle school in Mesquite Saturday night, with strong winds pushing the fire towards a residential area before a change in direction sent it back towards the river.

Fire getting larger with high winds in the area behind Hafen Lane Park, close to the Virgin River, Mesquite, Nev., May 14, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
A fire is seen getting larger with high winds in the area behind Hafen Lane Park close to the Virgin River, Mesquite, Nev., May 14, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“Looks to me like it’s probably going to be put into a patrol status for the night,” Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire Chief Jeff Hunt said Saturday after crews had the fire contained to a smaller area, “get the BLM in here, and probably get in there in the morning and see what we can do about getting it pinched off.”

Just after 9:30 p.m. Mesquite Fire and Rescue responded to an initial report of a brush fire behind Hafen Lane Park in Mesquite, Capt. William Martinez of Mesquite Fire and Rescue said.

Upon arrival Martinez realized the fire wasn’t behind the park, he said. It was actually closer to the Virgin River, so one crew was sent to investigate that area while another was sent to investigate the area behind Charles Arthur Hughes Middle School, where the fire appeared to be heading.

Martinez then contacted Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire District and Clark County Fire Department’s volunteer Bunkerville Station for assistance. Both departments responded.

Engine 23, an all terrain firetruck from the Beaver Dam/Littlefield’s Wildland Division was sent directly to the blaze to investigate further, he said.

Firefighters from Mesquite Fire and Rescue, Beaver Dam-Littlefield Fire Department, and Bunkerville Clark County Fire Department respond and assist with blaze near Hafen Lane Park, Mesquite, Nev., May 14, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Firefighters from Mesquite Fire and Rescue, Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire Department and the Bunkerville Station of Clark County Fire Department respond and assist with a wildfire near Hafen Lane Park, Mesquite, Nev., May 14, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Firefighters were able to get next to the fire’s edge and observed the fire getting larger and going towards the Bunkerville Ridge area. Once the direction of the wind changed, however, the fire moved in a southeasterly direction and turned in on itself, Hunt said.

Firefighters from Engine 23 then advised Martinez the fire was on the Bunkerville side next to the river, which is land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Martinez said.

BLM Fire and Aviation for Southern Nevada were then contacted and dispatched to the area from Las Vegas, Martinez said. Once they arrive, the BLM crews will take over management of the fire since they have jurisdiction over the area and are fully equipped to fight this type of fire.

“We’ve got some pretty good torching in their right now,” Hunt said.

Beaver Dam Littlefield FIre Department's "Wildland DIvision" Type III Fire Engine assisting at blaze behind Hafen Lane Park, Mesquite, Nev., May 14, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Beaver Dam/Littlefield FIre Department’s Wildland DIvision Type III Fire Engine assists in fighting blaze behind Hafen Lane Park, Mesquite, Nev., May 14, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

But despite the high flames and continued burning, the blaze is contained in a 3-4 acre area, Hunt said, with the river to one side and vegetation on the other that still has moisture, thanks to the recent rain.

“We get called in whenever there is a wildfire quite frequently since our department has a Wildland Division, equipped with a Type III Fire Engine, or wildland fire engine, Hunt said.

A Type III Fire Engine is specifically designed to assist in fighting wildfires using four-wheel drive for climbing hills and tackling rough terrain.  Additionally, this type of fire engine can pump water while driving.  Beaver Dam/Littlefield’s Engine 23 used in Saturday night’s blaze is less than one month old, Hunt said.

Martinez said they are now on “fire watch,” to ensure the fire doesn’t spread or change direction due to wind or that a spark doesn’t ignite another area while they wait for the BLM crew to take over.

“Our main goal right now is to make sure the fire doesn’t spread into the city,” Martinez said, “but if that happens, then we have units on standby that can respond in less than four minutes.”

No injuries or property damage have been reported.

Mesquite Fire and Rescue, Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire District and the Bunkerville Station for Clark County Fire Department responded to the fire. Southern Nevada BLM Fire and Aviation were dispatched and responding at the time of this report.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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2 Comments

  • hiker75 May 15, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I certainly appreciate our fire crews!

  • paoniagirl May 15, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Thank you, Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire dept and all others. Didn’t even know about this fire until now. Great reporting and pics!
    Nice to know there is this kind equipment available. We have a lot of fuel in Beaver Dam, it’s a worrisome thing.

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